Tag Archives | Cannabis

Government’s Crackdown On Medical Cannabis Not Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules

DEAlogo Government’s Crackdown On Medical Cannabis Not Unconstitutional, Federal Judge RulesA federal judge in Sacramento this week dismissed a federal lawsuit filed in November by members of the NORML Legal Committee against the US Department of Justice, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and DEA Director Michele Leonhart. The lawsuit (read it here), one of four filed simultaneously in the state’s four federal districts, argues that the Justice Department’s ongoing crackdown against medical marijuana providers and distributors in California is in violation of the Ninth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution because the use of cannabis therapeutically is a fundamental right. Petitioners also argue, using the theory of judicial estoppel, that the Justice Department had previously affirmed in public memos and in statements made in federal court that it would no longer use federal resources to prosecute cannabis patients or providers who are compliant with state law.

On Wednesday, US District Judge Garland Burrell, Jr., rejected those arguments and and granted the respondent’s dismissal motion. He denied petitioners request for public hearings prior to making his ruling.

Judge Burrell rejected plaintiffs’ Ninth and Tenth Amendment challenges, finding: “Since the Supreme Court has held the that CSA’s (federal Controlled Substances Act) categorical prohibition of the possession, manufacturing, and distribution of marijuana does not exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause (Article I Section 8, Clause 3 of the US Constitution), plaintiffs do not have a viable …. claim.”

He also rejected plaintiffs’ equal protection arguments, finding that the Justice Department’s actions in California mimic efforts the federal government has taken against “similarly situated individuals” elsewhere. Judge Burrell also cited court rulings finding that defendants in previous challenges have failed to meet the “heavy burden of proving the irrationality of the schedule I classification of marijuana.”

Finally, Judge Burrell dismissed plaintiff’s judicial estoppel clam, which argues that defendants’ “recent crackdown … against medical cannabis patients flouts the representations made on the record by the Department of Justice” in public memos and statements in court. Responding to this challenge, Judge Burrell determined, “Since judicial estoppel does not apply unless ‘a party’s later position [is] ‘clearly inconsistent with its earlier position,’ and the Ogden memo does not contain a promise not to enforce the CSA, defendants’ enforcement of the CSA is not inconsistent.”

Commenting on the ruling, Attorney David Michael of San Francisco, who along with Matt Kumin and Alan Silber were the lead attorneys in these four challenges, said “We are disappointed, but not discouraged, that the District Courts have thus far denied us the relief we had sought. They are constrained by existing precedent, and the result was not unexpected. It is the Ninth Circuit where we hope to find a receptive audience, and, with the Lawrence v. Texas decision, we may also have a more receptive audience in the Supreme Court, should the issue go there.”

Judges for the Ninth Circuit had previously determined in Raich v Gonzalez: “For now, federal law is blind to the wisdom of a future day when the right to use medical marijuana to alleviate excruciating pain may be deemed fundamental. Although that day has not yet dawned, … (it) may be upon us sooner than expected.”

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Cannabis Cup 2011 Digger One Hitter

We take a look at the Digger One Hitter at the Cannabis Cup 2011 in Amsterdam.
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How to make a one-hitter pipe/piece to smoke cannabis.
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Cannabis Chocolate Creations

How to make Mint Chocolate Pot cups
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Cato Unbound: Ending Cannabis Prohibition in America

Originally published @ Cato Unbound, as part of a series of essays on ending the government’s failed war against cannabis

Ending Cannabis Prohibition in America

The now forty-year-old organized effort to reform cannabis laws in America is on the precipice of major socio-political reforms with approximately fifty percent of the population no longer supporting the nation’s seventy four-year-old Cannabis Prohibition. While reformers have made tremendous gains, notably at the state level, which have placed them at this crossroads, obstacles to full cannabis legalization are abundant and deep-seated in Congress and the federal government.norml remember prohibition  Cato Unbound: Ending Cannabis Prohibition in America

This paper seeks to identify important areas of concern for cannabis law reform, highlight the factors that have created a positive environment for reform, recognize who are the last and largely self-interested factions in society who fervently defend and/or prosper from Cannabis Prohibition’s status quo, and what are some of the strategic decisions that reformers can implement that will hasten an end to Alcohol Prohibition’s illegitimate, long-suffering cousin.

Important Areas Of Concern For Cannabis Law Reformers

There are several areas of concern for reformers, notably the federal vs. state disconnect in Washington, D.C.; citizens’ illogical fear of cannabis more than alcohol; and the political box canyon potentially created by medical cannabis.

Federal vs. State Government Disconnect –

On a recent video essay broadcast October 20, CNBC host and former senate staffer Lawrence O’Donnell lamenting about Cannabis Prohibition said ‘that only in the U.S. Senate can there be zero discussion about a policy change fifty percent of the country supports’. In a nutshell, despite 14 states having decriminalized cannabis possession, and 16 states and the District of Columbia ‘medicalizing’ cannabis, the U.S. Congress and the executive branch (along with a federal judiciary that is totally deferential to Congress’ intent and will regarding anti-cannabis laws) have a near total disconnect between what the governed want vis-à-vis reforming cannabis laws and elected policymakers on Capitol Hill who strongly support the status quo.

The numbers that frame this political quandary: 75% of the public support medical access to cannabis; 73% support decriminalizing cannabis possession for adults and now 50% of the population support outright legalization (California, where one out of eight U.S. citizens live, nearly passed a legalization voter initiative last fall, only losing by three percentage points). So it can be asserted with confidence that ‘soft’ cannabis law reforms of medical access and decriminalization enjoy overwhelming public support and that the ‘hard’ reform of legalization has now moved into the majority (The recent Gallup poll showed only 46% of citizens continue to support Cannabis Prohibition).

However, even with clear polling data to help guide them away from restrictive policies no longer supported by the public, the Obama Administration’s fifth attempt this October since he took office to introduce ‘digital democracy’ into policymaking decisions by creating a public website where citizens and organizations can post online petitions seeking changes in the ways government works, the president was once again confronted by the publics’ number one question: Why do we have Cannabis Prohibition in 2011? Shouldn’t it be ended as an ineffective public policy?

Unfortunately, like the previous four opportunities to confront public unrest about Cannabis Prohibition, despite the NORML petition being number one with 72,000 signatures, the Obama Administration once again totally rejected any public calls for cannabis law reforms and re-asserted the federal government’s primacy over the states in enforcing national Cannabis Prohibition laws (see discussion below).

Cannabis’ Fear Factor –

Recent polls and focus group data gathered by cannabis law reform advocates post last year’s near-victory in California for Prop. 19 (the initiative that would have legalized cannabis) revealed an important and troubling public perception that reformers need to largely overcome to be successful: Almost fifty percent of the general public in California—where the issue of reforming cannabis laws have been vetted like no other place on earth since the late 1960s— illogically fears cannabis more so than alcohol products.

Forgive the pun, but reformers have to do a better job ‘normalizing’ cannabis use such that its responsible use causes no greater concern in the public’s eye than the responsible use of alcohol. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine cannabis becoming legal anytime soon if fifty percent of the public fears the product and the consumers who enjoy it.

Medical Cannabis’ Political Limitations –

While NORML is the sui generis of medical cannabis in the United States (first suing the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis as a medicine in 1972, NORML vs. DEA), the organization recognizes that absent substantive changes in the federal government’s Controlled Substances Act (and controlling International treaties envisaged and championed by America at the United Nations), qualified medical patients accessing lawful cannabis with a physician’s recommendation in states that authorize such is an untenable conflict with the existing federal laws that do not, under any circumstance, allow for the therapeutic possession, use or manufacture of cannabis.

This state and federal conflict regarding Cannabis Prohibition laws came into full view this year despite previous attempts otherwise by the Obama Administration to slightly modify the federal government’s historic recalcitrance in allowing states greater autonomy to create cannabis controls, and in some cases such as Colorado, to establish tax and regulate bureaucracies specifically for medical cannabis.

Federal actions against medical cannabis in 2011:

*US Attorneys in California deny the city of Oakland the ability to set up a city-sanctioned arrangement with medical cannabis industry to cultivate and sell medical cannabis;

*The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruled that medical cannabis dispensaries are not legitimate businesses under federal law and therefore can’t take standard business tax deductions;

*The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) sent a memo to all gun dealers in the U.S. warning them not to make any sales of guns or ammunition to medical cannabis patients, even those who possess a state-issued ‘medical cannabis patient’ card. In effect, this federal action has rendered medical cannabis patients with no Second Amendment rights;

*Federal banking regulators regularly harass and threaten local and state banks not to do business with commercial medical cannabis businesses, even if the businesses have state and city-issued licenses to sell medical cannabis;

*US Attorneys in California and the DEA sent warning letters to otherwise state-compliant medical cannabis businesses that are properly zoned under local laws to shut down or move away from federally-funded schools, day care or recreation centers within 1,000 feet of the dispensary;

*These same US Attorneys are now threatening to legally pursue newspapers and magazines that advertise what are otherwise legal, state and city-authorized businesses and their lawful commerce.

Also, under numerous state Supreme Court decisions, lawful medical patients can be denied employment; along with driving privileges (which was recently overturned in California), child custody, Section Eight housing, university residences, and even be denied a life-saving organ transplant.

With so many onerous institutional discriminatory practices and restrictions—and the price of medical cannabis remaining inordinately high because of the existence of Cannabis Prohibition—patients who genuinely need access to this low toxicity, naturally occurring herbal medicine would be far better served by ending Cannabis Prohibition in total than trying to carve out special legal exemptions to existing prohibition laws.

Why Cannabis Reform Is More Popular Now Than Ever Before

The rapid increase in public support for cannabis law reform is made possible by five factors:

1) Baby Boomers are now largely in control of most of the country’s major institutions (media, government, entertainment, education and business) and they have a decidedly different perception and/or relationship with cannabis than the World War II generation (AKA, the Reefer Madness generation), who, were largely abstinent of consuming cannabis.

2) These crushing recessionary times have forced many elected policymakers to drop their support for rigorous enforcement of Cannabis Prohibition laws. Numerous states and municipalities have adopted half measures towards legalization, notably decriminalizing possession or adopting a lowest law enforcement priority strategy.

3) Medical cannabis first becoming legal in 1996 by popular vote in California. After the nation’s largest and most politically important state adopted medical marijuana guidelines, sixteen states and the District of Columbia have followed suit setting up a terrific state vs. federal government conflict that has already visited the U.S. Supreme Court twice (2002 and again in 2005).

4) The advent of the Internet in the mid 1990s allowed citizens to communicate directly with each other at very low costs, create large social networks of like-minded community members, avoid mainstream media (which readily serves as a lapdog, rather than government watchdog in the war on some drugs) and educate themselves with verifiable and credible information about cannabis (rejecting government anti-cannabis propaganda programs like the controversial DARE program in the public schools and the Partnership for Drug-Free America’s ineffective ad campaigns in the mainstream media).

5) Americans are apparently (and finally!) becoming increasingly Cannabis Prohibition weary after seventy-four years. In comparison, America’s great failed ‘social experiment’ of Alcohol Prohibition lasted about a dozen years.

Who Actually Wants Cannabis Prohibition To Continue?

One of the principle lessons in the Art of War is to ‘know thy enemy’. Therefore, it behooves cannabis law reformers to understand what small, but powerful factions in American society actively work to maintain the status quo of Cannabis Prohibition:

1) Law enforcement – There is no greater strident voice against ending Cannabis Prohibition than from the law enforcement community—from local sheriff departments to the Fraternal Order of Police to State Police departments to federal law enforcement agencies.

2) Federal and state bureaucracies born from Cannabis Prohibition itself – Washington, D.C. and most state capitals have created dozens of anti-cannabis government agencies to both maintain and enforce existing Cannabis Prohibition laws. Examples: Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of National Drug Control Policy (AKA, drug czar’s office), DARE, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, National Drug Control Information Center, etc…

Many of these bureaucracies in turn provide most of the funding to so-called ‘community anti-drug organizations’ to create the false appearance of local grassroots opposition to any cannabis law reforms.

3) Alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies –

Historically, alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals companies play both ends of the middle when opposing cannabis law reforms for the simple reason that all of these industries will lose a portion of their market share to legal cannabis.

4) Private corporations that prosper from Cannabis Prohibition

Numerous private companies donate significant funding annually to anti-cannabis politicians and organizations to maintain the status quo. Examples of such are private prisons, drug testing companies, rehabilitation services, communication companies, contraband detection devices, interdiction services and high-tech companies.

Reformers can hasten the end of Cannabis Prohibition

-Cannabis law reformers need to better politically organize via the Internet, resolve to no longer vote for pro-Prohibition candidates, and to fund and champion pro-reform candidates.

-Bipartisan support to end Cannabis Prohibition is a political given. However, since the 1990s every single major cannabis law reform initiative that has been successful has been funded by one of two liberal, politically divisive billionaires (George Soros and Peter Lewis). Reformers need to achieve greater political and funding diversity to significantly advance cannabis law reforms in today’s highly divided national political landscape.

-Recognize that most all of the major policy reforms are first achieved at the local and state level, in time putting due political pressure on the federal government to follow suit.

-Cannabis law reformers need to better work in concert with other like-minded political and social organizations that also oppose failed government programs or seek redress for grievances against the government.

-Reformers need to create a far more simpler reform narrative that juxtaposes ‘pot tolerant’ citizens against ‘intolerant’ citizens in the same manner that Alcohol Prohibition pit ‘wets’ against ‘drys’.

-Reformers need to continue demonstrating the tremendous cost to taxpayers of maintaining Cannabis Prohibition; the loss of needed tax revenue and the genuine lack of social controls that enhance public safety.

-Reformers need to keep directing public and media attention to the serious de-stabilization of the country’s borders created by the tremendous illegal succor of Cannabis Prohibition in countries like Mexico.

-Continuing what cannabis law reformers have been successfully achieving for forty years, which is to say winning a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign in the population, and recognizing that elected policymakers in Washington are not going to be able to lead the country out of it’s long-suffering Cannabis Prohibition without public advocacy that is derived from effective, politically diverse and bottoms up grassroots stakeholdership.

 

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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NORML Board Of Directors’ Declaration: Federal Blowback Against Medical Cannabis Must Cease

APPROVED UNANIMOUSLY BY BOARDFreedom is NORML 1 Line 300x58 NORML Board Of Directors’ Declaration: Federal Blowback Against Medical Cannabis Must Cease

At the recently concluded Annual Meeting and in conjunction with ‘National Medical Marijuana Week‘, the NORML Board of Directors condemned recent and unjustifiable federal law enforcement efforts against medical cannabis providers in America.

The Board continues to endorse the reform of cannabis laws nationally, as well as the progressive medical initiatives inaugurated and carried out in California and other states.

We remain thoroughly supportive of cannabis freedom fighters and the medical cannabis community and its citizens, whose cause is just.

Since its founding in 1970, NORML has continued to support, and has never abandoned, the righteous efforts of freedom fighters, responsible consumers, and the medical cannabis community.

We have supported decriminalization measures, medicinal users, patients’ rights, student alliances, and a wealth of progressive reformers who all share the ultimate common goal of an end to Cannabis Prohibition.

We will never back down in these efforts.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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NORML SHOW LIVE coverage of HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup Los Angeles This Weekend

NSL Screen 300x200 NORML SHOW LIVE coverage of HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup Los Angeles This Weekend

NORML SHOW LIVE streams every weekday at 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern on The NORML Network, where it's 4:20 / 24 / 7 / 365

If you’re not able to attend this weekend’s HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles, here at The NORML Network we’ve got the next best thing.  Tune in Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 7pm Pacific Time at http://live.norml.org for all the panels, presentations, interviews, and floor tours from LA Center Studios.

We’ll also be presenting our “It’s 4:20 Somewhere” raffles.  At every 4:20 in America – Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii Time – we’ll be raffling off a prize package of NORML buttons, stickers, pins, books, DVDs, t-shirts, and backpacks for those in attendance.  (That’s 1:20pm – 6:20pm Pacific.)  For those of you watching online, follow our NORML Network Twitter feed @NORMLNet for your chance to win, too.

If you miss the live coverage, video on-demand will be available at the http://live.norml.org over the weekend and permanently at our NORML Network YouTube Channel at http://youtube.com/NORMLNet.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Cannabis College

Medical marijuana use is on the rise in California – and business is booming. Taboo: Narcotics : WED FEB 3 10P et/pt : channel.nationalgeographic.com

September 08, 2011 MSNBC MOXNews.com
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Cannabis

A few nice marijuana compounds images I found:

Cannabis
2924722221 5213f5a21f Cannabis

Image by Drome ?
Cannabis, also known as marijuana[1] or marihuana, or ganja (from Hindi/Sanskrit: ????? g?nj?, hemp),[2] is a psychoactive product of the plant Cannabis sativa, or more often, Cannabis sativa subsp. indica. The herbal form of the drug consists of dried mature flowers and subtending leaves of pistillate (female) plants. The resinous form, known as hashish,[3] consists primarily of glandular trichomes collected from the same plant material. The major biologically active chemical compound in cannabis is ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), commonly referred to as THC.
Humans have been consuming cannabis since prehistory,[4] although in the 20th century there was a rise in its use for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. It is estimated that about four percent[5] of the world’s adult population use cannabis annually and 0.6 percent daily. Cannabis is the world’s most often used illegal drug.[6] The possession, use, or sale of psychoactive cannabis products became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century. Since then, some countries have intensified the enforcement of cannabis prohibition while others have reduced the priority of enforcement.

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6699400863 4304dab196 Cannabis

Image by 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team
An Afghan National Police talks with a local resident during a counter narcotics mission in the village of Talukan in the Panjwa’i District of Southern Afghanistan, Jan. 5th, 2012. Afghan National Security Forces discovered more than 50 pounds of processed marijuana in a compound and detained a person of interest during the operation. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Nazly Confesor, 319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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6139510336 cd33f1fe29 Cannabis

Image by isafmedia
TREK NAWA, Helmand province, Afghanistan — Sergeant Scott T. Potter, a Redlands Calif., native and a squad leader with Bravo Company, scans a compound in southern Trek Nawa. Potter, who joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and belongs to the company with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, led his squad of Marines and other attached personnel to clear and secure nearly 20 compounds during Operation Crack Back. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Earnest J. Barnes)

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Cannabis Is “An Effective Treatment” For Cancer Patients, Israeli Study Concludes

mmj stethiscope Cannabis Is “An Effective Treatment” For Cancer Patients, Israeli Study Concludes[Editor's note: This post is excerpted from this week's forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

Some two-thirds of Israeli cancer patients authorized to use cannabis report long-term, symptomatic improvement from the plant, according to clinical data presented in late January at a conference of the Israeli Oncologists Union and reported this week in several international media outlets.

Investigators at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, in conjunction with the Israeli Cancer Association, assessed the efficacy of cannabis therapy over the course of one year in 264 patients with cancer. Israeli media reported the findings:

Some 61 percent of the respondents reported a significant improvement in their quality of life as a result of the medical marijuana, while 56 percent noted an improvement in their ability to manage pain. In general, 67 percent were in favor of the treatment, while 65 percent said they would recommend it to other patients.”

The study concluded that cannabis is an “effective” treatment for certain symptoms of the disease cancer and recommended, “The treatment should be offered to the patients in earlier stages of cancer.”

In the trial, the most common types of cancer for which medical marijuana was authorized was lung cancer (21 percent ), breast cancer (12 percent ) and pancreatic cancer (10 percent ).

The study focused primarily on the use of cannabis to relieve various symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment, such as pain and nausea, but did not evaluate whether marijuana therapy could potentially suppress the proliferation of the disease. In preclinical trials, various cannabinoids – including THC and CBD (cannabidiol) – have been shown to selectively target and eliminate malignant cells and cancerous tumors.

To date, some 6,000 Israelis possess government authorization to use cannabis therapeutically. Patients authorized by the federal program may either cultivate cannabis at home or they may obtain marijuana from one of the nation’s 12 licensed cannabis farms.

Last summer, the Israeli Health Ministry formally acknowledged the therapeutic utility of cannabis and announced newly amended guidelines to more effectively govern the state-sponsored production and distribution of medical marijuana. The Ministry estimates that as many as 40,000 patients will eventually have access to medicinal cannabis once the Israeli program is fully implemented.

NORML’s literature review of the anti-cancer properties of cannabis and cannabinoids is available here.

NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform

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Jeremiah Vandermeer – Cannabis Culture News LIVE

ps.lbepocwd.60x60 50 Jeremiah Vandermeer   Cannabis Culture News LIVE
Jeremiah Vandermeer – Cannabis Culture News LIVE

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