By Steve Elliott
Parents who use marijuana -- even those who use it medicinally -- face a lot of judgments, and can sometimes even lose custody of their children. Parents 4 Pot, a new group based in Northern California is fighting the stigma surrounding the subject.
The new group has a Facebook page and plans to launch a website, reports Robin Wilkey at The Huffington Post. Next on the agenda is forming a board of directors and then advocating specific legislation.
"What we aspire to do is change the way people understand and talk about cannabis in our community," said organizer Mickey Martin, the author of Medical Marijuana 101 and founder of a company which produces cannabis-infused medibles. Martin is the father of two boys.
Martin in 2007 faced federal charges related to his medibles company, Tainted Inc., eventually being sentenced to probation for "marijuana manufacturing" and distribution charges that could have gotten him a decade in prison.
"There are many parents who lose their freedom, or whose children lose their freedom, every day to these policies and laws, and as a society we sit by and watch," Martin said. "It is not OK anymore."
Next to ObamaCare, cannabis is the hottest, most discussed subject in the media. Twenty states and D.C. have medical marijuana, 14 states have decriminalized marijuana, two states have legalized it for everyone and several more states are poised to pass legalization laws.
Americans still have questions, and beginning on November 23, Cannabis Planet TV has announced it will be taking to the airwaves in a dozen cites with the information on all things cannabis.
Originally seen only in California, Brad Lane’s Cannabis Planet will be aired weekly beginning November 23. TV stations in Massachusetts, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and California will air a new show every week. More stations are being added daily. Cannabis Planet is entertainment with an emphasis on medical research, cannabis cooking, cultivation, cannabis celebrities and legalization advances in American and around the globe.
The first show features longtime federal marijuana recipients, stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, who gets free government pot to treat his tumors, and glaucoma patient Elvy Musikka. Interviewees also include Dr. Julie Holland, author of The Pot Book, and Mara Gordon, international medical cannabis expert. There will be holiday cannabis cooking tips from Chef Mike Delao, hemp tips and music by the Trevor Green Band.
By Steve Elliott
The father of a two-year-old girl in Alabama with a rare neurological and epileptic disorder has started an online petition asking Governor Robert Bentley and state lawmakers to allow the use of a a form of medical marijuana that could help control the girl's frequent, violent seizures.
Dustin Chandler, a police officer in Pelham, and his wife Amy recently visited Gov. Bentley in Montgomery to ask for his support for medical marijuana, reports Martin J. Reed at al.com. Their daughter, Carly, is unable to walk, talk or feed herself.
The online petition at Change.org focuses on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid from marijuana that can treat inflammation, pain, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It can also treat Carly's violent seizures that occur several times a day -- seizures which pharmaceutical medications cannot control.
"The main fact that we want people to understand is we're not trying to get our two-year-old high," Chandler said. "They won't get stoned. This is a natural treatment ... that might have great benefit in helping her seizures. The life that she has, I'm trying to give the best quality to her."
By Steve Elliott
Overwhelmingly, Americans believe -- almost two-thirds of them -- that it's unacceptable for companies to fire employees for off-the-clock marijuana use in states where it is legal, according to a new poll.
According to the HuffPost/YouGov poll, that's the same percentage that said it would be unacceptable to fire employees for drinking during their off time, reports Emily Swanson at The Huffington Post.
The new poll shows that 64 percent of Americans think that if marijuana were legal in their state, it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for toking up during his or her free time. Only 22 percent said it would be acceptable to dismiss them for toking off the job.
That's identical to the percentage saying it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for drinking off the job, with 64 percent saying it would be acceptable, 22 percent saying it would be unacceptable.
How about in states where marijuana isn't yet legal? In that case, when simply asked whether it would be unacceptable to fire an employee for smoking marijuana during off-hours, not mentioning the legality of cannabis, 45 percent said it would be unacceptable, and 32 percent said it would be OK.
By Steve Elliott
A Christian pastor who's getting paid more than $100,000 a year by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has been sent home -- with pay -- after it was revealed he owns a strip mall where a medical marijuana dispensary is located.
Bishop Edward R. Turner, who has worked as a "paid field deputy" for Sheriff Lee Baca and headed the sheriff's Multi-Faith Clergy Council for 14 years, is being investigated for his connections to a medicinal cannabis access point which is housed in a mall he owns, reports Nancy Dillon at the New York Daily News.
"He was relieved of duty today and assigned to his home with pay," said sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore on Wednesday. Whitmore confirmed an internal affairs investigation has started. Rev. Turner was relieved of duty by Sheriff Baca on Thursday after the department learned from KABC-TV Channel 7 about the revocation of Turner's foundation's nonprofit status, and that a medical marijuana dispensary is being operated on his property, according to Whitmore.
Whitmore said Rev. Turner owns two strip malls in L.A., and one of them has a medical marijuana dispensary as a tenant. "The City of Los Angeles has deemed dispensaries to be illegal," Whitmore sniffed.
By Steve Elliott
A Seattle-based medical marijuana patient advocacy group, the Cannabis Action Coalition, has filed a recall petition against Governor Jay Inslee with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office.
The petition alleges corruption related to the Washington State Liquor Control Board's implementation of cannabis legalization Initiative 502.
"It's pretty clear that no matter which party prevails, the losing party will file an expedited appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court, said activist Steve Sarich, who heads up the CAC. "The best information we have is that this could happen within 10 days of the Superior Court decision."
Sarich was a guest on Tuesday's "Mike Bastinelli Show." Sarich talked about the flaws in I-502 that will affect medical marijuana patients in Washington, and the group's allegations against Gov. Inslee.
Sarich ran the No On I-502 campaign. He opposed the measure because of its per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC of milliliter of blood (5 ng/mg), which is not a true level of impairment; because it didn't remove any of the laws that made marijuana illegal in the first place (in fact, it added several new ways you can be arrested for cannabis); and because it will result in the over-taxation of medical marijuana, because of claims that the MMJ community is cutting into the revenue stream of proposed recreational marijuana outlets.
By Steve Elliott
You don't have to grow or smoke cannabis anymore to smell like it. Actor Richard Grant says he's created a perfume with the fragrance of marijuana.
Set to launch in April at the luxury department store Liberty in London, the new perfume will come in red packaging inspired by the Union Jack, reports the NY Daily News It will contain lime, clove oil, and mandarin over base notes of white musk, tobacco and pepper oil -- along with the infused scent of marijuana, according to Grant.
"I always have 100 things to do," Grant said. "I've been working on [the perfume] for two years, being taught at the knee of 'a nose' in Paris," he told Shortlist.
Marijuana-scented perfumes have been marketed before. Back in 2006, the Cannabis Santal fragrance by Caroline Sabas was released by Fresh. Kush perfume was launched in 2011 by Alan Hochberg.
Independent perfumer Sanae Barber created Innocence By Misty earlier this year; it contained a small amount of medical marijuana, as well.
So far, there are no estimates on how much the new fragrance will cost, what it will be called, or where else it will be available for sale.
(Photo of Richard Grant: Daniel Deme/WENN.com)
By Steve Elliott
Some Michigan lawmakers want medical marijuana -- legalized by state voters five years ago -- to be sold through pharmacies.
Claiming it's time to bring cannabis "into the fold of the health care industry so patients can buy it at their corner pharmacy," Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Township) and others are backing a bill approved by a state Senate committee last week which would prepare the way for "pharmaceutical grade" cannabis sales, reports David Eggert at The Associated Press.
The measure would create a second system of access to medical marijuana in Michigan, one that its backers say "would not interfere" with the existing law, under which patients can grow their own cannabis or obtain it from designated caregivers. (Of course, the patients of Washington state would be quick to warn folks in other places about a "second system" promised to "not interfere" with safe access, since that's not been the case with I-502 "legalization" there.)
Safe access to medicinal cannabis has been iffy in the state since a Michigan Supreme Court decision which effectively declared dispensaries illegal, by ruling they weren't covered in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
By Steve Elliott
Michigan cannabis advocates hope that their successes at the ballot box this year will help increase pressure on state legislators to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.
Voters in Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing last week all approved ballot measures that removed all city penalties for possession of marijuana by adults on private property, reports Jake Neher at Interlochen Public Radio.
Tim Beck, an activist who helped organize those campaigns, said their success sends a message to the Legislature that marijuana penalties need to be reduced statewide.
"Like 17 other states have done, including Ohio," Beck said. "It's the equivalent of a traffic ticket in Ohio -- a $100 fine. That should be very simple," he said during a guest appearance on "Off the Record," a show on Michigan Public Radio.
"And there's huge public support," Beck said, "as demonstrated in all of these elections that we've had." But it's still too soon for a statewide ballot initiative, he said.
"The funders that funded the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in (2008), they need to see poll numbers, OK?" Beck said. "Michigan, right now, is 'hardcore support' at 52 percent for full legalization of marijuana. That's not good enough to run a ballot initiative. We need to get those numbers up."
By Steve Elliott
A criminal record usually limits opportunities. But now there's a $1,000 law school scholarship available where applicants must prove they've already been in trouble with the law.
The Appelman Law Firm, LLC, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says the idea is designed to reward those who've made better choices after a conviction -- "those who have managed to turn their lives around and intend to pursue a career in criminal defense."
"There's a real need for passionate attorneys in criminal defense," said Avery Appelman, the firm's founder. "Nothing instills a great passion for justice quite like having suffered through the process yourself."
That's where the Appelman Law Firm Criminal Defense Scholarship comes in, and Appelman isn't alone in thinking a criminal record shouldn't be a barrier to making a better life.
"There are just too many ways to run afoul of the law for anyoen to think they are immune," Appelman said. "A mistake can easily lead to an arrest or jail."
Attempts to determine just how many criminal statutes exist have failed, because there are so many. An estimate from the government in the 1980s put it at about 3,000 in the federal system alone. Shortly afterward, another study from the American Bar Association said that was too low a figure, but couldn't come up with a better number.
Adding in state crimes only makes the situation worse. For many, avoiding a criminal record has become more a matter of luck than of being a good citizen.
By Steve Elliott
A new report says legal marijuana is now among the fastest-growing markets in the United States, and is on track to pass the growth rate of smartphones. Fourteen more states will legalize recreational cannabis in the next five years, the report predicts, creating a potential $10.2 billion marijuana market by 2018.
Researchers estimated that more than $1.43 billion worth of legal marijuana will be sold in 2013, reports Carly Schwartz at The Huffington Post. The report predicts that figure will grow to $2.34 billion by next year, a jump of 64 percent. Meanwhile, the smartphone market grew by 46 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to recent figures.
The researchers were unable to find any market growing as quickly as legal marijuana, said Steve Berg, a former managing director of Wells Fargo Bank and editor of the report, the second annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets.
"Those who really understand market dynamics will reap large rewards," Berg predicted.
Colorado alone is predicted to add $359 million to its existing marijuana market in 2014, with the rollout of recreational marijuana stores, as legalized by voters under Amendment 64 last year. Washington state voters at the same time passed Initiative 502, under which state-licensed legal marijuana stores are expected to open in mid-2014.
The third trial against medical marijuana dispensary operator and Navy veteran Jovan Jackson is coming to an end Friday in San Diego Superior Court, before Judge Louis R. Hanoian. Closing arguments were underway Friday morning and the jury was expected to begin deliberations on the verdict after lunch.
San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a staunch -- nay, fanatical -- opponent of medical marijuana, has waged a years-long effort to rid the county of dispensaries, and Jackson has borne the biggest brunt.
After a 2008 law enforcement raid, Jackson was tried in 2009 for possession and sales of marijuana, but was acquitted by a jury. Dissatisfied with that result, District Attorney Dumanis tried Jackson again on the same charges stemming from another raid in 2009.
At his second trial in 2010, Jackson was denied a defense and ultimately convicted. However, with the help of patient advocates Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Jackson appealed and overturned his conviction with a 2011 landmark decision that gives dispensary operators the right to a defense in state court. Instead of admitting defeat, Dumanis is choosing to retry Jackson for a third time.
By Steve Elliott
A group of medical marijuana patients in Lynnwood, Washington, this week got more than six pounds of cannabis back from the police after it was seized more than a year ago. Also returned were 202 dead marijuana plants.
The Lynnwood Police Department seized the marijuana, along with lights and other growing equipment, in a May 2012 raid, reports The Associated Press. The patients were following Washington's medical marijuana law, attorney Aaron A. Pelley said, and no criminal charges were filed.
Pelley and two other attorneys demanded that city officials return the items, or pay nearly $1 million, the estimated value of the property. The mayor didn't like the sound of that, and signed off on the return of the marijuana.
Pelley picked up the marijuana on Tuesday. He said it's no longer good for smoking, but it might still be usable to make cannabis oil or marijuana-infused products.
The police weren't pleased that they had to return the weed, according to Deputy Chief Byran Stanifer, but also didn't want to face a lawsuit.
(Photo: KING 5)
By Steve Elliott
Legalizing marijuana would more than double its potential market, if a new HuffPost/YouGov poll is to be believed.
The poll indicates that 26 percent of Americans say they would buy cannabis if it was legal in their state, compared to 9 percent who said they already buy it, reports Emily Swanson at The Huffington Post. The percentage who said they would buy marijuana "often" jumped from 1 percent who already do so, to 4 percent who said they would buy it "often" if it was legal.
When asked how often they'd buy weed, 18 percent said they'd buy it more often than they do now if it ws legal. That includes 16 percent who said they'd never buy pot now but would, at least on rare occasions, get it if it was legal.
Those under age 30 were more likely to say both that they'd buy cannabis if it was legal (35 percent) and that they already do so now (16 percent). But even among those 65 and older -- almost none of whom said they ever buy marijuana now -- 9 percent said they'd get it at least occasionally if it was legal.
Javier Sicilia to Speak at Stanford University of Pain Caused by Failed Drug War – and Need for Alternative Drug Policies to Prevent Future Victims
Mexican poet and peace leader Javier Sicilia on Wednesday will visit the Bay Area to speak firsthand about the devastation and pain caused by the Drug War in Mexico.
Sicilia’s visit –- to Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies on Wednesday, October 30, at 4:30 pm -– is part of the bi-national, 11-city “Voices of the Victims” Tour calling for an end to the Drug War that has left more than 80,000 people murdered, 25,000 disappeared, and 250,000 displaced from their homes in Mexico.
The Voices of the Victims Tour began on October 23-26 in Denver, Colorado, at the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), during which 24 representatives from the Mexican victims’ organization, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, participated in panels and roundtable discussions to strategize with activists from around the world about how to bring the war on drugs to an end.