Allen St. Pierre

Massachusetts: Advocates Lay Groundwork For Marijuana Legalization

MassachusettsMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana advocates are laying the groundwork for legalization in Massachusetts in 2016, the next presidential election year.

State voters approved decriminalization of small amounts of cannabis in 2008, and legalized its use for medicinal purposes in 2012, both with more than 63 percent support, reports Joshua Miller at the Boston Globe. advocates have launched an effort to get legalization on the 2016 ballot, and to raise enough money to ensure victory.

But some say Massachusetts' strong traditions will make legal marijuana a tough sell.

"To make it available for recreational use, that's going over a very different barrier," said state Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), explaining it was easy for her to support decrim and medical marijuana, but not legalization. "I'm not sure people in the state are ready for that and I'm certainly not sure I'm ready for that."

But the tides of public opinion are shifting on cannabis.

"Opinion is changing very quickly on marijuana," said Steve Koczela, president of MassINC Polling Group. The rapid change, he said, "mirrors, in some ways, the same-sex marriage shift that's taken place over the last few years."

D.C.: Proposed Program To Subsidize Medical Marijuana For Low-Income Patients

MedicalMarijuanaDC

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A proposed program in the District of Columbia -- which would be the first of its kind in the nation -- would require medical marijuana dispensaries in D.C. to put aside two percent of their profits to subsidize low-income patients.

Dispensaries would give at least a 20 percent discount on marijuana to people at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level under the process, reports Celina Durgin at The Washington Times.

While dispensaries sometimes offer reduced prices to poor patients, no state has put this type of provision into medical marijuana regulations, according to Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

"The rule is totally unprecedented in the medical marijuana community," St. Pierre said.

Medical marijuana sales in D.C. began last month at Capital City Care dispensary. Prices for marijuana seem quite expensive, at least by Pacific Northwest standards, with cannabis ranging from $380 to $440 per ounce, according to the dispensary's website.

Since poor people potentially comprise a large portion of medical marijuana patients -- especially given the fact that you must be seriously ill to qualify -- the sliding scale program is intended to improve access for them. Often, marijuana patients cannot hold full-time jobs because of the illnesses that qualify them to use cannabis, analysts say.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Claims Marijuana Use 'Not Healthy', Causes 'Loss of IQ'

RandPaulDumb

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Wanna-be libertarian Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is at it again. On Thursday, he repeated his personal opposition to marijuana use, but he went farther than that -- way farther. He also claimed pot use is "not healthy" and causes a "loss of IQ."

"Wait a minute," you may be thinking. "I thought libertarians favored letting people make their own decisions about such things." Well, if that's so, then maybe Sen. Paul isn't a libertarian. Maybe he's just some ignorant, conservative loudmouth who, unfortunately, also managed to get himself elected to the U.S. Senate.

"I personally think that marijuana use is not healthy," Sen. Paul told the Las Vegas Sun in an interview published on Wednesday. "People that use it chronically have a loss of IQ and a loss of ambition, but at the same time states have the right to make these decisions."

Would it be too much to ask to expect Sen. Paul to base his public pronouncements about pot on actual facts rather than 20th Century misinformation? Apparently so.

Washington: THCF Supports Seattle Hempfest 2010


By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2010 - Montage The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) is proud to be the main sponsor of the Seattle Hempfest because our mission is to educate the general community about the benefits of the cannabis plant to our society. Hempfest 2010 will be held on August 21st and 22nd, and takes place every year at Myrtle Edwards Park expanding in recent years to include the adjacent parks. Hempfest offers five stages of entertainment, a Hemposium question and answer forum, and hundreds of vendor booths, sure to please a myriad of musical, informational, and entrepreneurial tastes.

The time to act in support of hemp is now, so please reach out and create awareness in your community. The Berlin Wall fell quickly, and together we can end this unjust war on the cannabis plant in the same manner, but we need to unite in solidarity. Vivian McPeak, the event's director declares, "No political or human rights movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning. It's just a matter of time."

United States: Congressional Research Service’s Medical Marijuana Report

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

There is a truth that must be heard! The Congressional Research Service (CRS), part of the Library of Congress, has a mandate to research and publish non-partisan, up-to-date and relevant information for members of Congress and their staff to help them craft legislation.

The most recent CRS white paper on medical cannabis in the United States is, in fishing parlance, a ‘keeper’. Released for public consumption on April 2, 2010, it is a well researched, scholarly and important document for reformers to download and keep close at hand as a very well presented primer on the history and current domestic legal status of medical cannabis. Of particular help are the many numerous citations and footnotes for greater reference and depth of understanding.

Very often, and rightly so, taxpayers–notably cannabis consumers–are frustrated at how state and federal governments spend tax dollars arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating; interdicting, eradicating and propagandizing in support of cannabis prohibition. But, this most recent CRS report (like many previous reports from them on cannabis and drug policy) is an invaluable report to add to one’s ‘reform library’ that you and I can feel good paying for.

Oregon: Legal Pot Could Be on November Ballot

By David Krough and AP

There is a truth that must be heard! PORTLAND, Ore. -- Marijuana advocates are gearing up to legalize the drug for recreational use in Oregon with a new measure poised to go on the November ballot.

According to their website, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would "legalize the sale, possession and personal private cultivation of marijuana." It would also set aside two percent of profits from cannabis sales for commissions that promote industrial hemp biodiesel, fiber, protein and oil.

Growers and sellers would need a state license and could only sell in cannabis-only stores.

Oregon became the second state to pass a marijuana law in 1998, following California. There are nearly 24,000 patients with medical marijuana cards in Oregon. Only state residents can obtain the card after registering as a patient in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program with a qualifying debilitating medical condition diagnosed by a doctor.

Organizers will start collecting signatures Saturday.

Kyndall Mason with the DemocracyResources.com organization was working with the National Organization for Reform of Mairjuana Laws (NORML) and Oregon groups to gather signatures starting Saturday.

"Oregon has a long history of laws that conflict with federal law, that includes the Death with Dignity Act," Mason said. "The feds have (recently) given states more autonomy, specifically regarding medical marijuana laws," she said.

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2009 - Montage

"Hemp will be the future of all mankind, or there won't be a future." Jack Herer

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
Video By Reimond Kerezsi, LK & Oregon NORML

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2009 - Montage The featured video is an eclectic compilation of passionate speakers from the August 2009 Seattle Hempfest. It includes interesting perspectives from "The Emperor of Hemp" Jack Herer, Allen St. Pierre, Keith Stroup, Paul Stanford, George Rohrbacher, Anndrea Hermann and Seattle Hempfest's own Vivian McPeak. It is sure to give you inspiration.

"It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, we are going to legalize marijuana no matter what happens in ten years, because when 60% of the American public wants something, they're going to get it." Allen St. Pierre

"Contact your legislators tell them to end marijuana prohibition. It's time to tax and regulate it. The more letters they get like that, the sooner the day will arrive." Paul Stanford

United States: Washington, Other States Move to Legalize

By RACHEL LA CORTE Associated Press Writer

United States: Washington, Other States Move to Legalize OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington is one of four states where measures to legalize and regulate marijuana have been introduced, and about two dozen other states are considering bills ranging from medical marijuana to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the herb.

"In terms of state legislatures, this is far and away the most active year that we've ever seen," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, which supports reforming marijuana laws.

Nadelmann said that while legalization efforts are not likely to get much traction in state capitals anytime soon, the fact that there is such an increase of activity "is elevating the level of public discourse on this issue and legitimizing it."

"I would say that we are close to the tipping point," he said. "At this point they are still seen as symbolic bills to get the conversation going, but at least the conversation can be a serious one."

Opponents of relaxing marijuana laws aren't happy with any conversation on the topic, other than keeping the drug illegal.

"There's no upside to it in any manner other than for those people who want to smoke pot," said Travis Kuykendall, head of the West Texas High Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area office in El Paso, Texas. "There's nothing for society in it, there's nothing good for the country in it, there's nothing for the good of the economy in it."

United States: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Grows Rapidly Around U.S.

Approval for medical use expands alongside criticism of prohibition

Would you support medical marijuana?

By Karl Vick, Washington Post Staff Writer

United States: Support for Legalizing Marijuana Grows Rapidly Around U.S. The same day they rejected a gay marriage ballot measure, residents of Maine voted overwhelmingly to allow the sale of medical marijuana over the counter at state-licensed dispensaries.

Later in the month, the American Medical Association reversed a longtime position and urged the federal government to remove marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, which equates it with heroin.

A few days later, advocates for easing marijuana laws left their biannual strategy conference with plans to press ahead on all fronts -- state law, ballot measures, and court -- in a movement that for the first time in decades appeared to be gaining ground.

"This issue is breaking out in a remarkably rapid way now," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Public opinion is changing very, very rapidly."

The shift is widely described as generational. A Gallup poll in October found 44 percent of Americans favor full legalization of marijuana -- a rise of 13 points since 2000. Gallup said that if public support continues growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year, "the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years."

California: Mother Gives Son Marijuana to Treat His Autism

More Research Is Needed, But Difficult to Fund Due to Stigma, Experts Say

By Joseph Brownstein, GMA

California: Mother Gives Son Marijuana to Treat His Autism Given the many challenges involved in raising an autistic child, parents are willing to try a variety of potential remedies, many of which are controversial and unproven.

But one potential treatment that has gained attention recently is one that was controversial well before its first mention in connection with autism.

"At first I did some research, and I found a doctor who actually had a protocol for medical marijuana in children diagnosed with autism," Mieko Hester-Perez of Fountain Valley, Calif., told "Good Morning America."

Hester-Perez made her decision to try giving her 10-year-old son, Joey Perez, medical marijuana after his weight had become dangerously low due to his unwillingness to eat. She said that at the time she began the approach, he weighed only 46 pounds.

"You could see the bones in his chest. He was going to die," she said.

United States: Lawmakers Call For An End To Federal Marijuana Prosecutions

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

There is a truth that must be heard! Washington, DC: Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), will reintroduce legislation today to limit the federal government’s authority to arrest and prosecute minor marijuana offenders.

The measure, entitled an “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults,” would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (over three and one-half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot – making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.

Under federal law, defendants found guilty of possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own personal use face up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely. Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.

To date, thirteen states have enacted laws ‘decriminalizing’ the possession of marijuana by adults. Minor marijuana offenders face a citation and small fine in lieu of a criminal arrest or time in jail.

NORML: California Assemblyman Introduces Legislation To Tax And Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

Speaking at a landmark press conference today, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) introduced comprehensive legislation to tax and regulate the commercial production and sale of cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol.

“With the state in the midst of an historic economic crisis, the move towards regulating and taxing marijuana is simply common sense. This legislation would generate much needed revenue for the state, restrict access to only those over 21, end the environmental damage to our public lands from illicit crops, and improve public safety by redirecting law enforcement efforts to more serious crimes”, Assemblyman Ammiano said. “California has the opportunity to be the first state in the nation to enact a smart, responsible public policy for the control and regulation of marijuana.”

The proposal is the first marijuana legalization bill ever introduced in California.

“It’s time for California taxpayers to stop wasting money trying to enforce marijuana prohibition, and to realize the tax benefits from a legal, regulated market instead,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a sponsor of the bill.

United States: Benjamin Franklin Invented NORML (and the marijuana law reform movement)!

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

Of all of America’s Founding Fathers, only Benjamin Franklin was a signer of all three of our country’s essential documents, The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty that ended the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution. Benjamin Franklin was also the only Founding Father who actively campaigned against the institution of slavery. As a scientist, Benjamin Franklin, the man who learned to control lightning, was as revered and world-famous in his day, as Einstein was in his. Franklin, among many other things, gave us the conceptual framework we still use every time we think about things electrical. He was the first to describe electricity as having positive and negative charges. Ben Franklin’s fingerprints are everywhere one looks in 21st Century.

United States: Mainstream Media Looks At Marijuana Prohibition

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

Fire Up The Digital Recorders! January Is ‘Marijuana’ Month On The Groove Tube

As if this month was not busy enough with the arrival of Barack Obama to the White House and an ever-growing popular buzz about the need for cannabis law reform all over the media and internet, three major MSM outlets are scheduled to broadcast prime time specials examining aspects of cannabis prohibition.

On Friday, January 16, the venerable NBC news show Dateline has scheduled an hour-long profile of the tragic death of Florida college student Rachel Hoffman. Ms. Hoffman was arrested with cannabis and unfortunately trusted local police to become an undercover informant, which ultimately led to her murder. Her shocking death has forced Florida law enforcement to re-examine the use of confidential informants in drug cases and raised the question publicly about decriminalizing cannabis for adult use.

Cannabis Common Sense 473 - Featuring Allen St. Pierre Executive Director, NORML and The NORML Foundation

Cannabis Common Sense - Featuring Allen F. St. Pierre Executive Director, NORML and The NORML Foundation

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

In this episode of Cannabis Common Sense (#473) guest Allen St. Pierre of NORML, Tim Pate and host Paul Stanford hold an intellectual conversation on the changing face of cannabis reform in America.

Allen is the Executive Editor of NORML/The NORML Foundation's reports, publications and webpage as well as the organizations' archivist and has been a speaker at our own Hempstalk Festival. It was an honor to have him attend the show and speak his mind about marijuana politics in our nation.

We look forward to having him as a guest in the future.

Guests:
Paul Stanford THCF/CRRH
Madeline Martinez, Oregon NORML
Tim Pate, Musical Activist

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