SAN FRANCISCO, CA --(ENEWSPF)--October 22, 2012. Just over two weeks before voters in three U.S. states decide on ballot measures to legalize marijuana, a new website launches on Monday that tracks prominent people and organizations speaking out in favor of changing marijuana laws. MarijuanaMajority.com allows visitors to see just how mainstream this debate has become by viewing and sharing visually appealing lists of elected officials, actors, medical organizations and business leaders who support solutions like decriminalizing marijuana possession, allowing medical marijuana or legalizing and regulating marijuana sales for adult use.
In addition to tracking prominent people who have already spoken out, MarijuanaMajority.com has a social component that lets individual supporters play a role in convincing even more opinion leaders to publicly say they favor reform. Visitors to the site will be able to easily send targeted tweets to celebrities and politicians with just a few clicks, encouraging them to speak out and join the Marijuana Majority. Among the initial "Get Out the Quote" targets are Ben Affleck, Mark Cuban, John Cusack, Van Jones, Bill Nye ("The Science Guy"), Shaquille O'Neal, Rihanna and Kanye West.
"At a time when polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana and that mega-majorities support allowing medical marijuana or at least decriminalizing possession, it makes no sense whatsoever that so many national politicians look at this issue as some kind of dangerous third rail of politics," said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority. "By allowing people to see in one place the prominent, respectable and numerous supporters of changing these laws, we hope to convince more elected officials that there's political opportunity, and not political peril, in jumping on board the marijuana policy reform bandwagon."
The site launches as national polls show -- for the first time ever -- that a majority of U.S. voters support legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. Polling also indicates that voters in Colorado and Washington are poised to make history by voting to legalize marijuana on Election Day.
Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and a Marijuana Majority board member, said, "Anyone who looks at the polls can plainly see that trends heavily favor the marijuana legalization movement. For a long time, young people have overwhelmingly supported replacing failed marijuana laws with a new approach. Savvy politicians who are looking to earn support should realize that a growing demographic wants them to speak out for marijuana reform, and that doing so can only help them at the ballot box."
Marijuana Majority advisory board member Sean Dunagan, who served as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intelligence analyst for 13 years, added, "Ending marijuana prohibition enjoys support from religious leaders like Pat Robertson, business leaders like David Koch, entertainers like Morgan Freeman, world leaders like Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and -- by the way -- the majority of U.S. voters. No one who realizes that our failed marijuana laws cause tremendous violence and waste should be afraid to say so. The time to speak out and join the Marijuana Majority is now."
ABOUT MARIJUANA MAJORITY:
Marijuana Majority exists to help people understand that replacing marijuana prohibition with solutions like legalization, decriminalization and medical marijuana are mainstream, majority-support positions, and that no one who supports reform should be afraid to say so. More info at http://www.MarijuanaMajority.com.
We don't normally post this kind of stuff, but it's just another example of the idiotic things that happen because a harmless substance is kept illegal. Those in legal states, be glad you have access to safe, quality medication - and the rest of you PLEASE stay away from this harmful synthetic crap!
A naked man went on a rampage last month in the streets of Indianapolis, doing “ninja” somersaults and karate-like kicks to evade the police officers and bystanders who attempted to wrangle him.
Recently-posted video shows David Martin, the nude 27-year-old, yelping in pain after police attempted to subdue him with a taser. But within seconds, Martin is back up again, kicking and punching his way through officers.
“This guy’s like a ninja, man. Holy crap!” the unidentified cameraman said as Martin performed a somersault during his evasion of the police.
“No way! That guy’s strong, he’s got to be on something,” the cameraman added.
According to the New York Daily News, Martin allegedly injured a female officer when he pushed her into a building; and injured a male cop after punching him in the face several times.
At the end of the video, Martin is seen running off after being tasered several times and kicking and flipping his way through police. Eventually police caught up and arrested him, charging him with battery, resisting law enforcement, and public indecency.
The Daily News reports that Martin later admitted to being high on Spice, a type of synthetic marijuana.
Naturally, a synthetic marijuana ban is coming down the pike in Indiana (and many other states), due to crazy stories like this one. But little do ban-happy politicians realize that potentially dangerous synthetic cannabinoids like this exist largely because the real stuff is illegal.
The Show-Me state is looking to take the marijuana battle a step further and legalize any and all marijuana use within the state. They are still in the preliminary stages of petitioning and gathering signatures, with roughly 12,000 signees as of right now. The petition suggests to regulate the sale just like alcohol and cigarettes where the state could regulate and take their cut of the profits.
Sixteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized the use of medical marijuana. A statewide group is looking to take it a step further, however, and legalize all marijuana use in Missouri.
A group of about 65 volunteers have been hitting the streets in St. Joseph, looking for supporters of Show-Me Cannabis, an association that seeks to legalize and regulate marijuana use in the state. Missouri’s Secretary of State requires 150,000 signatures on a statewide petition by May 6 in order for a legalization measure to appear on November’s ballot.
Amber Langston, campaign director for Show-Me Cannabis, said they have about 12,000 signatures from across the state on hand, but expect there are more signatures that volunteers have yet to turn in.
“We have around 1,000 petitioners, and we just launched an online volunteer training, so we anticipate things to continue to ramp up,” she said.
Bart Brower, field director in St. Joseph, said the group of local volunteers meets at the East Hills Library every Saturday to discuss the initiative and to strategize ways to garner support.
Those volunteers range from people 18 years old to 60; Mr. Brower himself is 45 and does not smoke cannabis, he said. He’s also seen a range of supporters, from college kids to an elderly woman who said she would support legalization if marijuana would help her arthritis.
“This is not the stereotypical hippie movement any more,” he said. “People are ready for change.”
Their weekly meetings are also educational opportunities for volunteers, as well as for the public. On Saturday, Betty Taylor, the former police chief in Winfield, Mo., discussed her view of marijuana prohibition, as well as that of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, of which she is a member.
“We’ve had 40 years to prove that the war on drugs has succeeded, and it hasn’t; it’s failed. Miserably,” she said.
Ms. Taylor, who is now a professor of criminal justice, said law enforcement should be focusing on other, more violent crimes, such as rape and murder. She said she teaches her students that marijuana was made illegal through fear-mongering, but the drug has not proved to be an initiator of violence in the 70 years it has been illegal.
A representative from the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force could not be reached for comment on the initiative. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration has released several papers on its view on marijuana legalization.
“Drug abuse, and this nation’s response to it, is one of the most important and potentially dangerous issues facing American citizens — and especially its youth — today,” says one of its papers, “Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization.”
The DEA presents its top 10 facts on legalization, the first stating that the War on Drugs has caused overall drug use to decrease by more than a third in the last 20 years.
Additionally, the paper argues that drug prevention needs to have a balance of enforcement and treatment for it to be successful and that, unless enforced, drug use and violence will continue to go hand in hand.
The Show-Me Cannabis initiative suggests Missouri voters approve marijuana regulation that is similar to alcohol regulation. Users would have to be 21 or over; anyone looking to sell marijuana would need a license; and any marijuana grown for personal use would be limited to a 10-by-10-foot plot. There is also wording that allows medical marijuana to be prescribed by doctors and agricultural hemp to be cultivated by farmers.
Marijuana would also be taxed like alcohol and cigarettes — in the case of cannabis the group suggests $100 per pound — which would create additional income for Missouri, supporters say.
The Show-Me Cannabis initiative meets at East Hills Library every Saturday between 2 and 4 p.m., and is looking for volunteers or donations.
Original article: http://www.newspressnow.com/localnews/30496712/detail.html
On a yearly basis the state of Oregon issues medical marijuana cards to nearly 600 out of state residents. These people are permitted to use marijuana in the state of Oregon just the same; but some get the card in hopes that it will help them out of trouble if they get caught with marijuana back in their home state. People travel quite a distance to obtain this card and get a little piece of mind.
PORTLAND, Ore. —
Twice in the past two years, Gary Storck has boarded Amtrak's Empire Builder outside his hometown of Madison, Wis., and headed west to Oregon. The trip takes about 40 hours and costs more than $1,000 - all for something that makes the illegal legal.
He pays a visit to one of the state's 15 or so medical marijuana clinics, fills out an application and sees a doctor. Storck walks out an hour later, the proud holder of an Oregon-issued medical marijuana card. It's a process he'll have to go through each year to keep the card.
Storck, 56, is one of hundreds of out-of-staters who each year make an unusual pilgrimage to Oregon - the only state in the country to issue medical marijuana cards to non-residents.
"It's not a bad place to visit," said Storck, who has used marijuana for four decades to treat glaucoma and other chronic ailments. "It lifts my spirits to be in a place where medical cannabis is legal and life goes on."
Some users of medical marijuana go through the effort to acquire an Oregon card because it allows them to use the drug legally when they're in the state. Others hope it provides some legal protection if they're arrested in a state where medical marijuana is outlawed. Many out-of-staters see an Oregon card as important recognition that their use of the drug is legally recognized somewhere in the United States.
Since June 2010, when the state started issuing cards to non-residents, nearly 600 out-of-staters have traveled here to obtain one, according to the Oregon Health Authority, the agency that oversees the state's medical marijuana program. And while it's a small number compared with those issued to Oregonians - 72,000 in-state residents got cards during that period - it's a notable development for medical marijuana advocates and those who rely on the drug for medication.
People who live in states that outlaw the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes say they're relieved to have their use of the drug legally recognized - even if their home state does not. And for those who travel to Oregon for work or to see friends and family, a state-issued medical marijuana card offers legal protection from arrest and prosecution while here.
The most out-of-state applications for Oregon medical marijuana cards - 309 - came from Washington residents. Idaho came in second with 138, California third with 50.
"There are patients who live in California and Washington or Idaho for that matter ... who travel to Oregon to visit friends and family and ought not be interfered with because they are possessing their medicine," said Leland Berger, a Portland lawyer and medical marijuana advocate.
It was a 2010 case that Berger argued before the Oregon Court of Appeals that ultimately prompted the state to drop residency requirements from its medical marijuana program. The court upheld a California man's conviction for marijuana possession but in its opinion noted that access to medical treatment is a protected right of all citizens traveling from state to state.
The appellate ruling prompted the Oregon Attorney General to issue an opinion clarifying the state's residency requirements for a medical marijuana cards: Anyone can obtain a medical marijuana card in Oregon as long as the person has seen an Oregon-licensed physician who's diagnosed a qualifying illness and suggests marijuana as treatment.
Sixteen states and Washington, D.C., have laws permitting the use of medical marijuana. Five of those states - Michigan, Maine, Montana, Rhode Island and Arizona - will honor Oregon's medical marijuana card.
California, the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, only issues medical marijuana identification cards to California residents. However, state law allows California-licensed doctors to issue recommendations for medical marijuana to out-of-staters. Those recommendations allow a person to legally use the drug in California.
Keith Stroup, an attorney and founder of Norml, a national group that advocates the legalization of marijuana, said he expects most states with medical marijuana programs will eventually drop their residency requirements.
But he and other attorneys and marijuana activists said an Oregon card offers virtually no legal protection outside of Oregon's borders.
"I mean it's significant in the sense that it's progressive and fairly liberal compared to other states. However, it doesn't really provide patients with protection once they leave Oregon," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a national group advocating for medical marijuana laws.
Don Skakie, 52, of Renton, Wash., got an Oregon medical marijuana card so he can travel through Oregon without worrying about getting arrested. A union glazier and medical marijuana activist, Skakie is authorized to use medical marijuana in Washington and California, too.
"I have some work down here," he said, referring to Oregon. "But if I was to be pulled over, my Washington authorization would not be recognized as valid. I need to be recognized as a patient so I don't go off to jail."
Skakie, who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic back pain, said even with authorization in three states, he's cautious about traveling with the drug and discreet about using it. He said he recently helped move his sister from California to Missouri.
"I still had my medicine with me on that trip and medicated as I needed to but I was certainly hiding in the shadows and being extremely cautious," he said.
Storck, the medical marijuana activist in Wisconsin, which doesn't have a medical marijuana program, carries his Oregon card with him wherever he goes even though it isn't likely to offer him much legal protection.
"To be able to have at least one state say, `Yes, we accept that you are a patient,' means so much to me," he said. "It was worth the trip to be recognized as a patient. I have been fighting my whole entire adult life for my medicine. My own home state, where I was born, won't recognize that."
A map of Oregon hangs in his home, a reminder that his marijuana use is legal here.
"I am really thankful to Oregon," Storck said. "I am legal in every inch of that state and that is a beautiful thought for me."
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com
An Ohio billionarie and chairman of Progressive Insurance Corporation is funding the Massachusetts ballot questions that would possibly legalize marijuana. Of the $526,167 raised in 2011, Peter Lewis' contributions accounted for over 99.7% of the funding. A majority of the funding ($350,000+) from Lewis went to hire professional signature gathers for the purpose of moving the ballot measure along. He is also funding similar movements in Washington State and his home state of Ohio.
A proposed ballot question that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in Massachusetts is being bankrolled almost entirely by an Ohio billionaire who has backed similar efforts in other states.
Peter Lewis, chairman of auto insurer Progressive Corp., contributed $525,000 to the Committee for Compassionate Medicine, which is supporting the question. That accounted for virtually all the $526,167 raised by the group in 2011.
The Massachusetts ballot question would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis to get permission from their doctors to use marijuana. The plan also calls for the state to register up to 35 nonprofit medical treatment centers around the state to distribute the marijuana.
A public relations firm representing the committee said the goal of the question is “to ensure that Massachusetts patients have the same access to the necessary medical resources to fight debilitating diseases that are available in sixteen other states.”
With Lewis’s financial boost, the group is hoping to convince voters to approve the measure if it reaches the November ballot.
Critics of medical marijuana initiatives say weakening the prohibition against the drug could send the message to young people that smoking pot is no big deal, ultimately encouraging more teens to experiment with it.
Under the ballot question, the new treatment centers would be authorized to acquire, cultivate, and process marijuana, including the development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments.
Patients allowed to possess marijuana would be issued registration cards by the state Department of Public Health after a physician determines in writing that they have one of the qualifying medical conditions.
Nothing in the ballot question changes state laws against driving under the influence or forces health insurers to cover the expense of the marijuana.
The bulk of the money contributed by Lewis – $350,000 – went to hire professional signature gatherers to collect the tens of thousands of signatures needed to guarantee the question a spot on the November ballot.
Lewis also is helping fund a campaign in Washington state to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use. And in his home state of Ohio, Lewis said last year that he was seeking proposals for a medical marijuana ballot issue for 2012.
If the Massachusetts question lands on the November ballot it won’t be the first time that voters here have been asked to change state law regarding the drug. In 2008, Massachusetts voters overwhelming backed a 2008 initiative which decriminalized the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The law instituted a $100 civil fine instead.
Come this next election in November the state of Washington could be the first state that decides to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. If that is the case, other states are expected to follow in their footsteps. While Colorado fell about 3,000 signatures short of getting legalization on the ballot, but Washington still intends to get the job done especially since pro and anti legalization camps have been at roughly the same voter percentage as of late.
The drive to legalize marijuana has long been a fringe cause, associated with hard-core libertarians and college-age stoners. But it could go mainstream in a big way in this November’s election, when Washington could become the first state to legalize recreational pot use. If it does — or if voters in any of several other states do — this year could be a turning point in the nation’s treatment of marijuana.
The idea that a majority of voters could support legalizing marijuana may seem far out — but the polls say otherwise. In many states, the prolegalization and antilegalization camps are roughly equal in size. In a poll of Washington state voters released last month, supporters of the legalization referendum outnumbered opponents: 48% vs. 45%. And Washington probably won’t be the only state voting on marijuana this year. In Colorado, supporters last week fell about 3,000 signatures short of getting a legalization measure on the ballot — but the law gave them 15 days to collect the rest, and it seems likely they will. Activists are also collecting signatures in other states, including California, Michigan and Montana.
For years, the debate over marijuana has been focused on a narrower question: medical marijuana. The argument that cancer patients and others with chronic pain should be able to alleviate it by using marijuana has been prevailing in state after state. Today, 16 states — including Washington and Colorado — and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Recently, the action has shifted to recreational marijuana use. Washington’s referendum would treat pot much like alcohol, so the sale of marijuana would be restricted to people over 21. The new law would give the Liquor Control Board the authority to license marijuana farms, and marijuana tax revenues would be directed to health and drug-abuse prevention programs.
But other states’ proposed laws are more laissez-faire. Colorado would legalize marijuana so that, as its supporters put it, cannabis would be regulated like “grapes, tomatoes or other harmless botanical plants.” Montana’s amendment focuses on decriminalizing marijuana but leaves it to the legislature to work out the details.
Supporters argue that legalization is long overdue. They argue that it is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco — and that in a free country people should be able to decide on their own whether to use it. They also argue that, as a practical matter, laws against marijuana have been no more successful than Prohibition was against alcohol — and that, similarly, it has given criminals a monopoly on distributing and selling it. Legalization, they say, would reduce the number of people in prison, and it would shift revenue from drug syndicates to government in the form of tax receipts.
Not surprisingly, the legalization drives have drawn heated opposition. Critics argue that marijuana is harmful and addictive — and that it is often a gateway drug, leading to cocaine or heroin. They say stoned drivers would be a menace on the roads. And they warn that if it were legalized, and readily available, marijuana use could soar. (The University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” survey reported that daily marijuana use is already at a 30-year high among high school seniors, even as alcohol use has been declining.) The anticamp also argues that marijuana is stronger than it was decades ago — from two to 10 times stronger, some experts say. (Other experts dispute the figures.)
If Washington or some other state legalizes marijuana, that would not settle the matter. It would still be a controlled substance under federal law. And the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause says that when federal and state laws clash, federal law trumps. As a practical matter, though, the federal government does not have the resources to police everyday use of marijuana. If states begin to legalize it, the federal government might be hard-pressed to justify diverting limited Drug Enforcement Agency resources away from heroin cartels toward small-time pot smokers.
It is hard to handicap this year’s voting, but one possibility is this: marijuana legalization could lose in Washington and Colorado in November, but recreational use could nonetheless be headed toward legalization in many states in the not-too-distant future. Support for legalization has been rising steadily, from just 12% in 1970 to 31% in 2001 to 50% today, with young people (ages 18-29) the most in favor (62%) and older people (ages 50-64) the least (49%).
In strictly political terms, this is a powerful combination: fast-growing support and solid majorities among the young, who represent where the electorate is headed. (Support for gay marriage polls similarly — which is why it is becoming law in more states.) In a few years, the national discussion may well turn from whether to legalize marijuana to how to do it in the most prudent way.