California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act. AB 258 prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients in the organ transplant process, unless a doctor has determined that medicinal cannabis use is clinically significant to the transplant process.
Medical cannabis patients in California have been routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical marijuana. AB 258 was authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA).
“AB 258’s passage is the result of ASA’s membership tirelessly working for over two years,” said Don Duncan, ASA’s California director. “In California, legal medical cannabis patients will never again face a choice between their doctor-recommended medicine and a life-saving organ transplant.
"Governor Brown deserves credit for protecting medical cannabis patients from this harmful discriminatory practice that has no basis in medical research,” Duncan said.
On June 15, more than 200 patients and advocates participated in the ASA California Citizen Lobby Day, which focused on educating lawmakers about AB 258 and other medical cannabis legislation. During the lobby day ASA began a postcard campaign to encourage Governor Brown to support AB 258.
Over 10,000 Signatories Tell Feinstein to Stop Opposing Medical Marijuana
Petition Follows Feinstein's Recent Vote Against Protecting Californian Residents from Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Laws
A group of California-based advocates on Tuesday will hand-deliver a medical marijuana petition to the San Francisco office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein has been a leading opponent of cannabis reform, and recently spoke out against an amendment that would protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference.
The amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with Feinstein as the only Democrat to oppose the measure, joining eight Republicans who voted in support.
California locals are fed up with Feinstein's well-documented opposition to medical marijuana, according to Amanda Reiman, manager, Marijuana Law and Policy, with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
"California has allowed access to medical marijuana for 20 years and the vast majority of Californians support this," Reiman said. "It is disappointing that Senator Feinstein continues to be a lone voice of opposition from California when it comes to supporting medical marijuana patients."
Tuesday Marks One-Year Anniversary of Medical Marijuana Bill Signing
New Bill to Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Just Passed NY Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support – But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law
On the one-year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families will gather in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill that would create an emergency access program so that critically ill patients could access medical marijuana as soon as possible.
Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.
Compassionate Care NY will hold a press conference urging Governor Cuomo to sign the emergency access bill.
What: Press conference and rally urging Cuomo to create emergency access to medical marijuana
• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
• Dr. Richard Carlton, physician and caregiver
• Elaine Smith, mother of a child with severe epilepsy
• Nancy Rivera, four-time cancer survivor
• Wanda Hernandez, person living with HIV/AIDS
When: Tuesday, July 7, 12:30 PM
Where: Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Offices; 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY
New Report Finds Major Fiscal Benefits, Decrease in Violent Crime, No Increase in Youth Marijuana Use or Traffic Fatalities – And Massive Drop in Marijuana Arrests
Popular Support for Marijuana Legalization Remains Strong in Washington; Only Dark Cloud Remains Uncertain Fate of Medical Marijuana
By Steve Elliott
As several states consider marijuana legalization initiatives, all eyes are on the initial outcomes of Washington’s marijuana law. In 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to pass laws taxing and regulating marijuana.
Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of retail marijuana sales in Washington. Adult possession of marijuana became legal on December 6, 2012, 30 days after the passage of I-502, the voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older. A year-and-a-half later, the first retail marijuana store opened its doors, on July 8, 2014.
A new report by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) highlights data on public safety, youth marijuana use, and the economy before and after passage of I-502. Since adult possession of marijuana became legal 18 months ago, the state has benefitted from a dramatic decrease in marijuana arrests and convictions, as well as increased tax revenues.
By Steve Elliott
Senate Bill 460, to allow the limited sale of recreational marijuana at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries beginning October 1, passed the Oregon Legislature with a Thursday vote in the House.
The measure, which had already clerared the Senate, passed the House on a 40 to 18 vote, reports Larry Meyer at The Argus Observer. Recreational marijuana sales would otherwise have had to wait until the Oregon Liquor Control Commission got the rules in place sometime next year, leaving customers to buy it through the black market.
Noting that cannabis sales won't be taxed until January, Democratic Rep. Andy Olson said it will take time to get a tax structure in place. The "tax holiday" will help encourage consumers to get their marijuana from a licensed dispensary, wheere it will have been lab tested, rather than on the black market.
State Rep. Cliff Bentz, a Republican from Ontario, Oregon, was one of the 18 "no" votes on SB 460. Bentz said he's "long suspected" that many medical marijuana patients are faking; he cluelessly claimed that this measure "puts the state's blessing" on that.
Bentz also voted against another successful resolution which asked the U.S. Congress to take marijuana off the schedule of controlled substances and allow the cannabis industry access to the federal banking system.
Oregon Rewrites Marijuana Criminal Code to Reduce Most Felonies to Misdemeanors and to Make Prior Convictions Eligible to be Cleared
Law Goes Beyond Other Legalization States to Reduce Harsh Marijuana Sentences and Allow for 78,319 Prior Marijuana Convictions to Potentially be Cleared
Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday signed H.B. 3400, an omnibus bill to implement Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative adopted by voters last November. The bill was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.
Measure 91 legalized possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulated commercial production, manufacturing, and retail sales of marijuana. Legalization for personal use took effect July 1, 2015.
As of that date adults 21 and older can legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home. They may also grow up to four plants at home, as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure for commercial retail sales will not be up and running until next year.
In addition to addressing the implementation of Measure 91, H.B. 3400 contains broad sentencing reform provisions that extend well beyond the elimination of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and cultivation of up to four plants. The new law reduces most marijuana felonies to misdemeanors or lesser felonies with significantly reduced sentences.
LEAD Established Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members to Produce Nearly 60% Reduction in Recidivism in Seattle
Wednesday: Convening Hosted by Major Foundations and Seattle Police Department
Thursday: Convening Co-Hosted by Major Foundations and The White House
This week, government officials and community leaders from more than 30 city, county and state jurisdictions will gather to discuss an innovative program that brings together diverse stakeholders seeking to achieve better outcomes in public health and safety by diverting people from jail to services.
The program, known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, was pioneered in Seattle. Under LEAD, police divert individuals who commit low-level drug offenses to harm reduction based case management services. An independent evaluation found that it reduced the likelihood of reoffending by nearly 60 percent compared to a control group that went through the criminal justice system “as usual.”
LEAD’s successes and positive evaluations have sparked widespread attention and interest, especially in a moment when the police role in dealing with “quality of life” issues is controversial and the way forward after the War On Drugs is uncertain.
Hemp Public Relations on Tuesday announced that they are refusing all multi-million dollar offers to provide their expertise to Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. For good measure, Hemp Public Relations has issued a lifetime ban on Christie for all company events.
“Governor Christie has publicly said as president, he would "crack down" on states that have ended prohibitions on marijuana," said Ryan McCormick, cofounder of Hemp Public Relations. "We feel that anyone who would threaten to subvert the will of the people and claim that their own personal ideology trumps that of the people is an affront to the very foundation of America.
"For this reason, Hemp Public Relations will refuse to work or assist the Christie campaign in any capacity for any amount of money,” McCormick said.
Hemp Public Relations helps individuals and businesses in the marijuana industry to achieve greater visibility in the public eye through the media. The company is founded by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, public relations professionals who are the creators of New York based Goldman McCormick PR (www.goldmanmccormick.com) and Legal PR Team (www.legalprteam.com).
Oct. 1 early start bill passes in Oregon Senate; Oregon police to stop arresting people for some marijuana crimes
By Steve Elliott
The day before adult use of marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, leaders of the state’s drug reform movement said they plan to expand their work to change how Oregon approaches drug policy.
“Thanks to Oregon voters, we have made history and become national leaders in drug reform,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of the Yes on 91 campaign to legalize marijuana. “But there’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”
Johnson has been advocating for an earlier start to regulated sales for marijuana, and the Oregon Senate today passed a bill, 23-6, that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on Oct. 1. Another bill that reduces marijuana-related criminal penalties is making its way to the governor’s desk.
Johnson said marijuana should no longer be classified as a drug as dangerous as heroin, that more money should be devoted to marijuana-related research, and that “we should focus more on helping people and less on incarcerating them.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a strong advocate for changes to federal drug laws and a leader of the Oregon campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, discussed his efforts to reform outdated marijuana policy at the federal level.
The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016 (CCHI 2016) and ALOTOFFUN Productions invites everyone to a free concert and political rally at MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, on Saturday, July 11 from 11:30 AM to 7 PM.
This event will be the official kick-off of the CCHI 2016 campaign to thoroughly end Cannabis Hemp prohibition in California. The organization is seeking backing and volunteers to help with this effort.
This special event continues the effort to mobilize and inform the public about qualifying the CCHI 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 California ballot.
This special informational event is being held on Saturday, July 11, from 11:30 AM to 7PM. For more info: www.rallyforcchi2016.com
The CCHI 2016 signature drive will begin begin in late Fall 2015 in which the CCHI 2016 will have 180 days to gather 600,000 signatures from registered Californian voters to qualify for the Nov 8, 2016 ballot.
Full text of the CCHI can be found at:
This event is free and donations are kindly accepted.
Musical acts Include: psychedelic rock, reggae, Grateful Dead, soul and funk.
Legendary SF 60's band, Sopworth Camel will headline with Gigantis, Island of Black and White, Clear Conscience and many other musical guests participating. For a complete list: www.rallyforcchi2016.com.
Speakers in support of qualifying the CCHI for the 2016 ballot include:
Ross Mirkarimi: Sheriff of San Francisco
Longtime proponent of Cannabis legalization, is scheduled to speak between 3-4 p.m (schedule permitting).
New Law an Important Step Toward Reducing Louisiana’s Notoriously Overcrowded Prisons and Jails
Even With This Reform, Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws Remain Harsher Than Nearly All Other U.S. States; Majority of Louisianans Support Ending All Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday signed legislation to reform the state’s severely punitive marijuana laws and reduce criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. The law is expected to save the state up to $17 million and will reduce the chances of Louisianans caught with small amounts of marijuana ending up with lengthy jail or prison sentences or saddled with a criminal conviction.
“Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at Drug Policy Action, the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It's a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognize this political reality.”
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's.
One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.
By Steve Elliott
Uruguay has stood up to the United Nations on the issue of marijuana legalization, refusing to back down after several meetings with officials from the international body.
Juan Andrés Roballo, the president of Uruguay's National Drug Board (JND), announced on Thursday that he will present a report before the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country's legalization and regulation of the cannabis market, reports PanAm Post.
Roballo said he will urge the U.N. to discuss legalization "without taboos," reports El Pais.
"Uruguay has embarked on a different path," Roballo said. "Not only have we made proposals; we have also taken effective, concrete measures in a different sense."
Roballo added that the whole world is watching Uruguay, and emphasized the "special commitment" the country has to run a successful legalization process.
The U.N., meanwhile, claims the legalization law approved by Uruguay "is incompatible with what is stipulated in the 1961 Convention," referencing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty restricting the production, manufacture, export, import, and distribution of various drugs.
Uruguay's decision to legalize cannabis has "kicked the hornet's nest," according to JND Secretary Milton Romani.
Committee votes in favor of bill that would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to use marijuana to treat their medical conditions
The Pennsylvania State House Health Committee on Friday voted unanimously to approve SB 3, which would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.
The vote follows the filing of a discharge petition by Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) that would have removed SB 3 from the Health Committee where it had stalled and put it before the full House for a vote.
“While it is a relief that SB 3 is no longer stalled in the Health Committee, it is imperative that it promptly moves to the floor,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fogel, a retired pediatrician who has a debilitating neurologic condition causing bouts of extreme pain. “It’s been over eight months since the Senate first passed a medical cannabis bill. Pennsylvanians have needlessly suffered for far too long. We need relief now.”
"I want to be thrilled by Baker's shocking reversal to move this bill out of his committee today, but after such fierce opposition to this bill I have to wonder if this is just another stall tactic being used to prevent us from getting medicine to our loved ones," said Lolly Bentch, member of Campaign 4 Compassion, whose daughter has intractable epilepsy.
The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act had bipartisan backing in both chambers, and an April poll found 57 percent of Rhode Island voters in favor of such a measure
Rhode Island state lawmakers late Thursday recessed the legislative session leaving hundreds of bills, including a widely supported proposal to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol, pending action. Legislative leaders have indicated they may call a special session in the fall to finish their agenda.
“Lawmakers’ decision to recess without voting on this widely supported legislation is disappointing, to say the least,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “We believe we have the votes needed to pass the measure this session, and we’re optimistic that we’ll still have the votes if and when they come back for a special session.
"We hope to work with leaders in both chambers over the summer to ensure lawmakers are given a chance to cast them,” Moffat said.
Activists in 150 Cities Call for End to Drug War, Including D.C. March from State Department to White House
UN Will Review International Drug Control Policies in 2016
The United Nations 2015 World Drug Report, released Friday, details the failure of and harms caused by the war on drugs, but doesn't grapple with the fact that problems such as alarmingly high overdose rates, control of the trade by organized crime networks and illegal sales funding terrorism are caused by the very prohibition policies the international body still supports.
Also on Friday, activists in more than 150 cities around the world called attention to the failure of the war on drugs, including with a march from the U.S. State Department to the White House to demand that the Obama Administration do more to bring about an end to international prohibition policies and the human rights violations they cause.
The day of action, called "Support, Don't Punish," coincides with the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions. U.S.-based activists are particularly concerned that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to ensure that international aid isn't used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.