Author Topic: If you don't like my fire, don't come around, cuz I am gonna burn one down  (Read 53206 times)

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Opinion: Pressing Pause on Pot Convictions
« Reply #63 on: 07-30-2018, 10:32am »
In today's NYT:

Opinion: Pressing Pause on Pot Convictions
By Steven M. Fulop and Jacob V. Hudnut
Mr. Fulop is the mayor of Jersey City, where Mr. Hudnut is the chief prosecutor.
July 29, 2018

JERSEY CITY — Every city in America knows that it’s a bad idea to prosecute low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses. It wastes scarce municipal resources and does nothing to enhance public safety. What’s more, even though whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, blacks are more harshly punished for it.

That’s why, on July 19, marijuana offenses were effectively decriminalized in Jersey City, New Jersey’s second most populous city.

Prosecutors treated every marijuana case that day as a violation instead of a misdemeanor, unless driving under the influence was involved. We told our prosecutors to ask for no more than a $50 fine, or just five hours of community service if the defendant couldn’t pay that fee. Instances like the absence of any public nuisance or a low likelihood of re-offense would warrant outright dismissal. We also stressed the importance of diverting people with an obvious drug addiction toward social services.

The goal of the policy was to avoid the collateral consequences of a conviction. Our assistant prosecutors approved. It meant less time subpoenaing police officers for marijuana prosecutions that had zero impact on public safety, and more time preparing for more consequential prosecutions of assault, theft and domestic violence.

Police officers also gave us positive feedback. They felt free to set aside enforcement of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses in favor of spending more time keeping our city safe by pursuing violent offenders. Brave young people don’t enlist in police academies to pursue pot smokers; they enlist to make a difference by keeping secure the streets where their family, friends and neighbors live.

We were excited to propose a solution to a problem that affected the entire state, not just our city. Each year, there are more than 25,000 arrests for simple marijuana possession in New Jersey. It is estimated they cost the state more than $1 billion each decade in policing, court operations, probation and jailing. Much of these costs fall on municipalities, like Jersey City, that are already short on cash. Most alarming is that people of color are three times more likely to be arrested than white people despite similar rates of marijuana use.

The collateral consequences of marijuana possession are considerable. Someone arrested for it could get a criminal record, have her driver’s license suspended, lose student financial aid, be banned from public housing, have a harder time securing a job or potentially get deported.

Unfortunately, our policy had a very short life. A little over 24 hours after we put it in place, Gurbir Grewal, the attorney general of New Jersey, voided it as an overreach of municipal prosecutorial authority, though we believe that the policy was supported by laws and legal precedent affording municipal prosecutors the discretion to downgrade or dismiss complaints for good cause.

If the realities of expensive and racially disparate marijuana prosecution aren’t “good cause,” then what is?

We asked to meet with Mr. Grewal and persuaded him to convene a working group that would advise him on a statewide directive to clarify municipal prosecutors’ discretion in marijuana cases. He also agreed to adjourn all marijuana-related prosecutions in municipal courts statewide for six weeks.

Meanwhile, the State Legislature is expected to vote on legalizing marijuana by September. If the various measures related to the issue pass, they could effectively end prosecution of marijuana possession in New Jersey.

Now, the question is: What are the rest of the country’s attorneys general waiting for?

Prosecutors in New York City and Philadelphia effectively decriminalized marijuana quite some time ago, and the sky didn’t fall. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently embraced a state health department report calling for legalization. In Pennsylvania, the mayors of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have all but conceded that legalization is inevitable.

Those states’ attorneys general should also impose statewide moratoriums on marijuana prosecution.

Who can name a good reason to continue burdening people of color with life-altering criminal convictions for something whites do without the consequence of conviction? Who with a straight face can argue that towns should continue spending their overstretched local resources on enforcement that does nothing to keep our streets safe?

In 1935 the Supreme Court declared that a prosecutor’s job is more than merely winning every case by racking up convictions; it also includes seeing that justice is done. We in Jersey City followed that principle on marijuana. The state attorney general did recently, too. Every state on the verge of marijuana legalization should follow us and do the same.

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New Jersey Attorney General and Jersey City to Collaborate on Statewide Directive Mitigating Marijuana Convictions

30-Day Postponement of all Marijuana Cases Statewide to be implemented immediately; Jersey City and Attorney General to jointly draft statewide directive on marijuana charges

 

JERSEY CITY – After a Monday meeting between Jersey City officials and The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office an agreement was reached on the path forward addressing Jersey City’s marijuana decriminalization policy and the Attorney General Office’s concerns.

 

Effective Tuesday morning, a memo was released to all 21 county prosecutors regarding a 30-day statewide adjournment of all marijuana charges and soon-to-be developed statewide guidelines with regard to downgrades and dismissal of simple marijuana offenses.

 

“This is a huge win for Jersey City, the state of NJ, and most importantly the people who would have been impacted by the creation of a criminal record due to a simple marijuana arrest,” said Mayor Fulop. “We are excited that Attorney General Grewal and Jersey City found common ground, avoiding the collateral consequences of convictions for marijuana possession while our great state is on the cusp of legalization,” Fulop Continued.

 

On Wednesday, July 18th, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Chief Prosecutor Jake Hudnut announced that the City would dismiss simple marijuana possession cases that come before the municipal courts or amend these charges to local ordinance violations, effectively decriminalizing marijuana in Jersey City. In addition to the racial inequalities and potentially life-altering consequences that stem from marijuana prosecution and conviction, there is a significant cost burden on local municipalities who oversee these charges. But on July 20, 2018, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal voided the policy. While Jersey City disagrees with the Attorney General’s interpretation of applicable law, the City respects the Attorney General’s action and his authority.

 

However, on Monday, in light of public support for the policy, Jersey City officials from the Municipal Prosecutor’s office, the Department of Public Safety, and the Law Department met with Attorney General Grewal to discuss how the objectives of decriminalization can effectively be implemented both in Jersey City and across New Jersey. As a result of this positive and productive meeting, Attorney General Grewal will convene a working group of criminal justice stakeholders this summer – including Chief Prosecutor Hudnut – to study this issue and advise the Attorney General on statewide solutions that achieve the same aims of decriminalization in accordance with existing state law and court rules.

 

“I took the job as Chief Prosecutor in Jersey City to help build a progressive, proactive, and thoughtful prosecutors office. We want to make sure that Jersey City is at the forefront of these conversations and I’m proud to have pushed this issue from the onset,” said Jersey City Chief Prosecutor Jake Hudnut

 

The directive will provide guidance on the appropriate circumstances warranting downgrade to local ordinance or outright dismissal of marijuana cases statewide. The aim of this directive will be to mitigate or eliminate the likelihood of disorderly person misdemeanor convictions for simple possession of marijuana while New Jersey is on the verge of legalization of marijuana, as well as the collateral consequences that come with those convictions. Collateral consequences include driver’s license suspension, criminal records, loss of student financial aid, bans from public housing, adverse effects on employment opportunities, and loss of immigration status.

 

In today’s memo, the Attorney General has further directed all municipal prosecutors throughout the state to seek adjournments of their pending marijuana cases until after September 4, 2018. This means that all open marijuana cases in the state’s municipal courts will be postponed until the Attorney General’s directive is issued and could effectively amount to a moratorium of – or a substantial reduction in – marijuana convictions in New Jersey between now and future legalization.

 

Said Chief Prosecutor Hudnut, “In adjourning all marijuana cases across New Jersey while a directive is prepared, Attorney General Grewal has put himself at the national forefront of progressive prosecutors. I am looking forward to working closely with him in the coming weeks on this directive, as well as on other issues affecting all of our state’s municipal courts. I believe that all of New Jersey’s municipal courts should exercise integrity and thoughtfully administer justice every day. In Attorney General Grewal, I have found a strong, progressive partner in that pursuit.”

 

 

 

 

 

 



Steven Fulop

Offline fasteddie

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New Jersey A.G. to Jersey City: no, you can't decriminalize pot
Updated 2:13 PM; Posted 1:39 PM

By Terrence T. McDonald tmcdonald@jjournal.com
The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY — Jersey City spent one day riding high on its new policy decriminalizing marijuana before state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told the city's new chief prosecutor on Friday that the policy is void because it violates state criminal laws.

The move represents a sharp rebuke from Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's administration of Mayor Steve Fulop, a Democrat who nearly competed with Murphy for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2017. Fulop said Friday that the city believes it is in the right and will continue with the new policy.

"As a municipal prosecutor, you do not have the legal authority to decriminalize marijuana or otherwise refuse to criminally prosecute all marijuana­-related offenses in the municipal courts of Jersey City," Grewal told Jake Hudnut, the new prosecutor, in a July 20 letter. "The criminal laws of this state are enacted by the senate and general assembly, not determined by municipal prosecutors based on "(r)ecent public opinion polling."

Fulop and Hudnut announced this week that on Thursday the city would essentially stop prosecuting low-level marijuana offenders by instructing local prosecutors to downgrade those charges to misdemeanor-level offenses. They argued that doing so would further the cause of criminal justice reform, saying people of color are more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana possession than white people.

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Jersey City is decriminalizing pot: Here's what it means
« Reply #60 on: 07-20-2018, 10:32am »
This N.J. city is decriminalizing pot: Here's what it means
Updated Jul 18; Posted Jul 18
By Terrence T. McDonald
The Jersey Journal

Jersey City is implementing a marijuana decriminalization policy that its mayor and new chief municipal prosecutor believe will increase racial justice while protecting public safety.

The policy, which is expected to begin officially tomorrow, will downgrade some marijuana charges to non-criminal offenses; encourage prosecutors to seek dismissal of low-level marijuana charges; and recommend diverting defendants with a criminal past and signs of addiction to the city's community court.

Jersey City's move indicates that Jake Hudnut, who became chief municipal prosecutor on July 2, is taking an aggressive stance in his new role. Hudnut, 35, is a former criminal defense attorney who ran unsuccessfully for the Ward E council seat in November. During his council campaign, he often referred to the toll the criminal justice system takes on the city's communities of color, an argument he made again on Wednesday during an interview at City Hall.

"What gives me pause is that despite similar cross-racial usage of marijuana, New Jerseyans of color are three times more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for marijuana than white New Jerseyans," Hudnut said. "I think prosecutors have an obligation to acknowledge this and fix this problem."

The change, outlined in a July 19 memo Hudnut sent to his assistant prosecutors, instructs them to amend five marijuana-related offenses — possession; possession while in a motor vehicle; being under the influence; use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia; and loitering to obtain or distribute a controlled dangerous substance — to non-criminal dispositions. The change will not apply to someone charged with driving while intoxicated.

Hudnut is recommending a fine of no more than $50 or five hours of community service if marijuana charges are not dismissed. Marijuana possession as normally charged as a disorderly person offense carries up to six months in jail.

The change doesn't mean you can spark up anywhere in Jersey City and avoid arrest. Mayor Steve Fulop said on Wednesday police will "use their discretion" if they spot someone, say, smoking pot on their front stoop, but in the end Hudnut and the assistant prosecutors will decide whether to recommend dismissal of the charges. Read more

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2 N.J. towns just announced they want weed sales
« Reply #59 on: 01-11-2018, 10:19am »
2 N.J. towns just announced they want weed sales
Updated 7:34 AM; Posted Jan 10, 3:57 PM
By Payton Guion
NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

With the marijuana legalization debate set to heat up this year in New Jersey, leaders in two of the state's highest-profile towns say they have no problem with weed businesses in their cities.

Should state lawmakers legalize pot, count Jersey City and Asbury Park among those likely to be a part of what could eventually be a billion-dollar industry.

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana lets municipalities to decide if they want to allow pot sales and production, or miss out on millions in tax revenue.

On Wednesday, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted that he and city officials would be working with the public to "clean up" zoning laws to clarify where dispensaries and grow facilities would be allowed to operate.

Two top officials in Asbury Park also said they're open to marijuana businesses in their town. Mayor John Moor and Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn both said as long as it's regulated by the state they have no problem with weed shops in Asbury Park.

"As long as it's a state law, I would have no problem with it," Moor said, adding that the city passed a resolution two years ago encouraging state lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

[...]

Incoming Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign a bill legalizing marijuana within his first 100 days in office.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden, introduced a bill last year that would allow people to buy and possess marijuana, as well as establish a taxed and regulated commercial pot market.

That bill allows towns to decide if they want to allow pot sales within their borders, but the decision comes at a cost. Under Scutari's bill, towns that allow weed businesses are able to claim a percentage of tax revenue, while towns that ban pot wouldn't get any tax money.

One estimate found that New Jersey could generate up to $300 million in tax revenue from marijuana.

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Can't resist posting this PSA from Mr. Bill Hicks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZqYV9KKOZQ


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Coalition pushes to legalize marijuana in N.J.
« Reply #56 on: 02-19-2015, 09:15am »
Coalition pushes to legalize marijuana in N.J.
By The Associated Press
on February 19, 2015 at 7:53 AM, updated February 19, 2015 at 7:56 AM

NEWARK -- Marijuana should be legalized in New Jersey because existing laws waste police resources, unfairly target minorities and leave millions of dollars in potential tax revenue unrealized by relegating it to the black market, a coalition said Wednesday in announcing a public education initiative.

New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform wants to legalize marijuana for people over 21, tax it and regulate its distribution. Among the groups represented at Wednesday's news conference were the American Civil Liberties Union New Jersey, the NAACP State Conference of New Jersey and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

NJUMR is focusing its efforts on educating the public about the issue first, before seeking a solution through the ballot box or the Legislature, said William Caruso, former executive director of the state Assembly. Gov. Chris Christie has been an advocate of changing drug laws to allow for more opportunities for treatment instead of incarceration, but he has consistently opposed marijuana legalization and has said he would veto any such bill that arrived on his desk.

"People change their minds," Caruso said. "I'm not saying that's where the governor is or will be, but we can't just stop because somebody has said, 'This is where I am.' It's our job to create a responsible debate. Our goal right now is not the statehouse. Our first job is articulate a message to the voting public, the taxpayers of this state, about what we're trying to accomplish and why."

Police in New Jersey make more than 21,000 arrests for marijuana possession annually, the group said. Those offenses cost about $127 million to prosecute, according to Richard Smith, president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference.

Marijuana prosecutions affect blacks disproportionately, Smith said: Black New Jerseyans are three times more likely than whites to be arrested, with potential far-ranging consequences including loss of jobs and benefits, loss of student loans and difficulty obtaining future employment. Pot arrests also clog courts and distract law enforcement officials from more serious crimes, coalition members said.

ACLU New Jersey Director Udi Ofer said that based on comparisons to Colorado, which he said reaped between $60 million and $70 million in revenue from legal pot sales in that state's first full year of legalization, New Jersey could expect $100 million or more. Read more

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N.J. Weedman Joined by Democrats Seeking Marijuana Taxes
« Reply #55 on: 04-16-2014, 11:54am »
N.J. Weedman Joined by Democrats Seeking Marijuana Taxes
By Terrence Dopp Apr 15, 2014 8:47 PM ET

Ed Forchion, the marijuana activist known as the New Jersey Weedman, became a fixture at the Statehouse in Trenton by setting up camp in his Weed Mobile and indulging in his favorite cause. Once, he lit up on the Assembly floor.

The dreadlocked Weedman is emerging as less of a maverick with a poll this week showing more than two-thirds of New Jerseyans favor lessening penalties and Democratic lawmakers floating a measure to let citizens sell and use pot. While Chris Christie has promised to veto any bill that makes the drug legal, as Colorado and Washington have, Democrats see an opportunity to rally support -- perhaps moreso because of the Republican governor’s opposition.

“It’s good politics as well as good policy,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Trenton Democrat pressing for easing pot laws. “It would certainly motivate people to get involved in the political process.”

Senator Nicholas Scutari, a Linden Democrat sponsoring a legalization bill, says pot should be treated like beer. Scutari and colleagues say that would raise tax receipts while cutting the costs of enforcement and imprisonment in a state that’s missed revenue targets three years in a row.

When Colorado began allowing sales in January, the state estimated it would make $67 million in revenue this year. That climbed to $107 million as sales soared. New Jersey could take in twice as much, Scutari said.

“You’re seeing a growing realization that this is the reality, this is a fact of life,” said Scutari, 45, who said he doesn’t use pot. “Marijuana is the cash cow of the illegal drug trade. It’s so widely utilized by people that there’s an understanding prohibition is a joke.”

No Harvest
Christie, a 51-year-old former federal prosecutor, has called the U.S. war on drugs a failure because of the expense of “warehousing” nonviolent offenders in prisons. Yet he’s said there’s no way he’ll make pot legal.

“If people want legalized marijuana in this state let them elect a new governor because it’s not going to happen under this one,” Christie said during an April 3 town-hall meeting in Sayreville. “I’m not going to turn our state into a place people fly into, to get high, just for the tax revenue.”

Pot Mascot
An October Gallup Poll showed 58 percent of Americans favoring legalization, up 10 percentage points from a year earlier. In New Jersey, while support is less, 49 percent, it’s stronger than ever: up 14 percentage points from 2011, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released April 15. Two-thirds of residents support lower penalties for pot use.

Gallup has tracked opinions on marijuana since 1969, when just 12 percent of the nation supported legalization. Approval grew throughout the 1970s and plateaued in the 1990s, finally reaching the 50 percent mark in 2011.

“People are really coming around to the idea,” said Erik Altieri, a spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. ’

The Weedman was in New Jersey’s vanguard.

A Pemberton resident, Forchion has been speaking out about drug laws since the 1990s. His stunts to draw attention to the issue include smoking pot in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, trying to change his name to NJWeedman.com, and runs for governor and Congress. He’s preparing for an April 20 rally at the Statehouse, a “protest/puff session.”

Vagabond Activist
Forchion splits his time between California and New Jersey, recently traveling cross-country in the Weed Mobile, a multicolored 1986 Chevrolet van. Outside his lawyers’ office in Clifton last month, Forchion kneeled under a tree and lit a joint. Christie, he said, is “absolutely on the wrong side of history.”

Other states are going the way of the Weedman. Washington and Colorado voters made recreational use legal in 2012. Alaska will ask voters in August. Eighteen other states and Washington D.C. have considered or are considering bills to decriminalize pot or make it legal, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group in the nation’s capital.

With the fiscal rationale resonating with younger voters, the scandal over lane closings at the George Washington Bridge is emboldening Christie’s opponents, said Brigid Harrison, a professor of law and government at Montclair State University.

“Democrats see momentum on their side,” Harrison said. “It’s sort of a no-holds-barred attitude in terms of being antagonistic toward the Christie administration.”

Scutari Abides
A bill sponsored by Gusciora would make possession of less than 15 grams akin to a traffic summons and subject to fines of $150. The measure has 18 co-sponsors, a quarter of the Assembly, including three Republicans.

Scutari’s legislation, introduced March 27, would legalize pot and allow the state to tax it. Possession would be only for those over 21, with penalties for driving under the influence.

Scutari said he can outlast Christie.

“He’s not going to be the governor forever,” Scutari said. “When you look at the sheer economic numbers involved, he’s going to be hard-pressed to say why we shouldn’t be involved.”

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Ian Neale interviewed on Sky News after meeting Snoop Dogg

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<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/jY6TILz-seY?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/jY6TILz-seY?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US</a>
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Rutgers just says no to pot growing

New Jersey university declines request from Gov. Chris Christie to become state's only grower of medical marijuana
By Associated Press

Rutgers University will not be getting into the marijuana-growing business.

New Jersey's largest university has declined a request from Gov. Chris Christie to become the only grower of the state's medical marijuana crop.

The school's dean of environmental and biological sciences department tells The Star-Ledger of Newark that marijuana's status as an illegal drug would jeopardize federal funding to the school.

The state's legislature approved a plan to allow patients with certain chronic illnesses to access marijuana. Christie suggested the marijuana be grown by Rutgers and distributed by the state's teaching hospitals.

Implementation of the law has been delayed until January to give state health officials time to work out details.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

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Who would've though Christie would be such a big supporter of socialized medicine! I hope the unions are taking notes...



TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said Rutgers University’s agricultural center should grow the pot and hospitals should dispense it under the state’s medical marijuana program, according to three people briefed on the proposal.

If legislators agree with the administration and amend a law that passed in January, New Jersey would be the first among the 14 medical marijuana states to run a centralized production and distribution system. The proposed changes represent an even more restrictive program — beyond one that was already the most conservative in the country — and eliminate the option of entrepreneurial growers and dispensaries getting some of the state’s marijuana business.

...

Roseanne Scotti, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey, said she had heard "rumors" about the state wanting to involve Rutgers and hospitals. She said she wished the administration would stick to the bill that took years to pass.

"Why go back to drawing board, especially when seriously ill people are waiting?’’ she asked. Scotti also said the changes would limit economic growth from the medical marijuana industry.

"A lot of very responsible and respectable people have begun to step forward,’’ she said. "I thought the Christie administration is supposedly business-friendly.’’


"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

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Applicants For Pot Farm Jobs Overwhelm Rutgers Work Study Office
**************************************************

Gov. Chris Christie wants all N.J. medical marijuana grown at Rutgers
Published: Friday, June 18, 2010, 5:11 AM     Updated: Friday, June 18, 2010, 7:44 AM
Susan K. Livio/Statehouse Bureau Susan K. Livio/Statehouse Bureau



TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie’s administration said Rutgers University’s agricultural center should grow the pot and hospitals should dispense it under the state’s medical marijuana program, according to three people briefed on the proposal.

If legislators agree with the administration and amend a law that passed in January, New Jersey would be the first among the 14 medical marijuana states to run a centralized production and distribution system. The proposed changes represent an even more restrictive program — beyond one that was already the most conservative in the country — and eliminate the option of entrepreneurial growers and dispensaries getting some of the state’s marijuana business.

Letting the program operate through one grower and hospitals would minimize some of Christie’s concern about the program posing a security and safety threat, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the details.

Critics have said the governor is needlessly dragging his feet in a state that has at least 5,000 citizens who need the drug to alleviate pain and suffering.

Roseanne Scotti, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey, said she had heard "rumors" about the state wanting to involve Rutgers and hospitals. She said she wished the administration would stick to the bill that took years to pass.

"Why go back to drawing board, especially when seriously ill people are waiting?’’ she asked. Scotti also said the changes would limit economic growth from the medical marijuana industry.

"A lot of very responsible and respectable people have begun to step forward,’’ she said. "I thought the Christie administration is supposedly business-friendly.’’



Scutari said he understands Christie "wants to make sure this is strictly controlled — once the cat is out of the bag, it’s hard to stuff it back in. But I don’t want to see this become too restrictive ... We are not giving out poison."

He also plans to introduce a bill Monday granting the Health Department an additional 90 days — from October to January — to write the rules and roll out the program. The administration had sought up to a year’s delay.

Health Department spokeswoman Donna Leusner declined to confirm details about the proposed program.

"The department is still looking at many complex issues that will allow for design of the safest and most effective program for those patients who qualify," Leusner said.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), the other key sponsor, said he was "supportive, if this is where they want to go.’’

He said he especially liked how Rutgers would be given "a great opportunity academic-wise ... to be the cutting edge of developing new strains of marijuana that deal with illness.’’

Bob Goodman, executive director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, declined to comment. In March, Goodman confirmed the state had contacted the station to explore forming a partnership over the medical marijuana program.

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Form of medical marijuana won't get you high, but it's creating a buzz

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/31/AR2010053103231.html?hpid=artslot

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
WILLITS, CALIF. -- The one-armed man loitered in the waiting room for much of the morning, flipping through magazines with impressive dexterity, quietly waiting for word that the doctor would see him. Now.

William Courtney, MD, offered the chair to the right of the desk, the one occupied during regular office hours by a steady stream of patients seeking a doctor's recommendation for marijuana. In California, such a recommendation means an adult may grow, buy and smoke marijuana, all while remaining safely within the confines of state law.

The singular peculiarity of Courtney's "pot doc" practice here in Northern California is what he recommends: Don't smoke the stuff, he tells patients. Eat it.

Marijuana, he avers to every person who appears before him, turns out to be brimming with healing compounds. It won't get you high eaten raw, but juiced with a handful of carrots to cut the bitter taste, its leaves and buds may well have restored the health of his girlfriend, who had been given a diagnosis of lupus and a butcher's bill of other disorders that lab tests show have subsided. A local sufferer of Crohn's disease credits the plant with helping reverse the debilitating intestinal disorder. And published research from accredited laboratories suggests promise in preventing diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancers and assorted maladies arising from chronic inflammation.

Yet almost no one knows any of this beyond a handful of scientists, including two at the National Institutes of Health who were sufficiently impressed that they joined a Nobel laureate in patenting a cannabis molecule. Courtney hands a copy of their U.S. Patent 6630507 to occupants of the chair, typically midway through a jargon-rich spiel that sometimes hits the patient right in the wheelhouse and sometimes goes whizzing overhead.

"I have no idea what he's talking about," said the auto mechanic who was in the chair a few minutes earlier, seeking relief for a broken vertebra and a bum knee. "Every once in a while he says something comprehensible."

But now, with no appointment and no right arm, someone was way ahead of him. "The last time we talked you said you had a source for the high-CBD material down by San Diego," the one-armed man began. He was dressed like a workingman but used the chemists' shorthand for cannabidiol, the most promising healing molecule, yet in most of the marijuana bought and sold these days, also the most elusive. CBD tends to show up least in plant strains that are richest in THC, the molecule that produces marijuana's high.



Courtney listened to the man, attentive yet guarded, the standard posture of a licensed medical practitioner operating on the far edge of the frontier where law, medicine and cannabis meet. It is a place in which he is used to being pretty much alone, and after a few minutes, Courtney sat upright and looked his patient in the eye.

"Are you wearing a wire?" the doctor asked.

'The basis of health'

Five years ago, while still a regular physician, Courtney was as spooked as most doctors about pot. Then he came across an article in the December 2004 issue of Scientific American. It changed his life. The article highlighted a molecule in cannabis that could do something he had never seen before: send signals not only into a nerve cell, but also back out again.

The finding reversed 20 years of his understanding of how neurotransmitters work. One-way traffic was the basis for inflammation: Immune cells receive endless messages to get cracking, none to calm down. Continuous attacking can inflame otherwise healthy tissue. Two-way communication makes possible a feedback loop, encouraging a modulation, the promise of which swept over the Michigan-born microbiology major with the force of religion. "My God," he said. "It's the basis of health."

Courtney keeps a framed graphic from the article on his desk. It stands beside copies of "Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: new therapeutic opportunities from an ancient herb," from Trends in Pharmacological Sciences -- and of course U.S. patent 6630507.

Among the three NIH scientists awarded the 2003 patent was the late Julius Axelrod, who won a share of the Nobel for nerve research that laid the groundwork for Prozac. "It took us a while to appreciate what was going on here," said Aidan Hampson, another of the patent holders, now a scientific review officer at NIH. "And it turns out cannabinoids had not been appreciated before, but they were strong antioxidants. The idea of a panacea," he added, however, "is just crazy."

Courtney feels differently, of course, but assessing the merits behind his enthusiasm is a difficult task. He has bona fide medical credentials and an evident passion to heal. But his approach is grounded in the counterculture ethos of Mendocino County, a coastal forestland populated since the 1960s by "new settlers" who rejected the establishment of two generations ago, and have since been in front on some things -- organic farming, for instance.

So when Courtney, excited by the ancient pedigree of cannabis, says "there are 34 million years of research in that plant," he might sound like one of your stoner friends. On the other hand, his Web site, http://leavesofgrass.info, links to an assortment of establishment scientists, including the International Cannabinoid Research Society, which brings together hundreds of mainstream researchers in its annual meeting. One year, his domestic partner, Kristen Peskuski, summarized her return to near-full health -- from debilitating lupus, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid arthritis and 40 medications a day -- after juicing fresh pot leaves over a 30-month period. Clinical tests documented the remission.

"Look at the people I'm rubbing elbows with -- Abbott, Smith, Merck," Courtney said, flipping through an ICRS program, thick as a phone book. "They know this is the future of medicine, without side effects."

Attention in scientific circles is, in fact, way up. "The amount of research published is growing algorithmically," said Allyn Howlett, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest University and ICRS president. Howlett has concerns about Courtney's approach. While he promotes marijuana as a good-for-you vegetable, like spinach, she regards "folk medicine" as backward and believes promising a spectrum of benefits is akin to peddling snake oil. Howlett pointed out that the pharmaceutical industry was created to standardize dosages, and the FDA to protect the consumer.

Quietly, one pharmaceutical firm has proceeded to FDA trials with a cannabinoid product. GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company, years ago bought the marijuana seed stock from a pair of Northern California botany enthusiasts who had decamped to Amsterdam, where it was safer to grow such things. After reading a GW report on a plant extremely high in CBD, Courtney for a while considered it the Grail, and looked high and low in Northern California. But in vain.



"What has happened is, almost all strains available in America through the black market are THC concentrates," said Ethan Russo, a Seattle area physician who is senior medical adviser to GW. "The CBD in almost all cases has been bred out. The reason is cannabis in this country has been cultivated for its intoxicating effect."

The company has produced an oral spray, called Sativex, approved in Canada for treatment of pain associated with multiple sclerosis and is pending in the U.K. and Spain for spasticity in MS. It has completed Phase II clinical trials in the FDA approval process as a treatment for cancer pain. The final trial awaits.

"It's going to be a few years yet," said Russo, who in the mid-'90s left his neurology practice in Montana, concerned by the toxic side effects of medicines he was prescribing. He returned from a sabbatical to Peru convinced that marijuana holds the greatest potential among medicinal plants.

"There's a tendency to discount claims when something appears to be good for everything, but there's a reason this is the case," he said. "CBD works on receptors, and as it turns out, we have cannabinoids in our bodies, endogenous cannabinoids, that turn out to be very effective at regulating immune functions, nerve functions, bone functions."

Hampson, of the NIH, likened the discovery of cannabinoids inside the body to "the opiate-endorphin story from 25 to 30 years ago. Before that, no one knew how heroin and morphine worked until they found these compounds in the brain, endorphins, and they used the same system. What were they for? To repress pain during exercise, et cetera."

Russo: "The endogenous cannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems, and if something is deranged biochemically in a person's body, it may well be that a cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance."

Stigma and red tape

Whatever potential may lurk in pot -- and most medicines start with a plant -- all agree that what Howlett called "the stigma associated with marijuana" presents powerful discouragement to scientists and firms. States may normalize access to marijuana, but the supremacy clause gives primacy to federal law that lists marijuana on Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the tier reserved for drugs with "no currently accepted medical use."

"As far as the pharmaceutical industry goes, anything that has a controlled substance, they won't touch with a ten-foot pole," Hampson said.

Simply acquiring laboratory marijuana requires permission from an alphabet soup of agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, which is famously hardheaded on the matter. It was, in fact, a sidelong mention of the DEA that cued Courtney to ask his patient about a wire. The agency must grant permission to import the device the one-armed man proposed to bring from Holland, a cannabis analyzer that might tell CBD enthusiasts exactly what they have in a particular plant.

This is a point of immense frustration in the gargantuan, perhaps $15 billion underground economy that flows from marijuana in California: No one knows for certain what they're buying. "I can't breed analytically," said Jim Hill, a pot farmer in Mendocino's Potter Valley. "I can only go by patient anecdote: 'Yeah, that really worked for me.' I can't go by graph paper."

After the DEA raided Hill's operation last October, he immediately replanted, emphatic that it was his right to supply dispensaries legally organized under state law as a "collective." Favorable court rulings have both emboldened and, in spots, professionalized California's marijuana industry. At Oakland's Harborside Health Center, pot is sold not by dealers but from a clean, white building where doors open by fingerprint scans, cameras monitor every corner, and pot brownies come in "childproof" wrappers.

"We're trying to medicalize down to the finest detail," chief operating officer Andrew DeAngelo said.

A few blocks away, the Steep Hill Medical Collective invested in a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer in hopes of learning precisely what's in each pound of Grand Daddy and Purple Kush. In one room recently, a lab tech in a white coat bent over a console, while in another, two entrepreneurs mulled the lay of the land.

"You've got a movement that's turning into an industry," said Addison DeMoura, a Steep Hill owner.



A man in a Panama hat nodded agreement. Sixties activist Fred Gardner edits O'Shaughnessy's, a quarterly devoted to medical marijuana and named for the physician who brought cannabis to the attention of European medicos. "I think people owe it to the industry, owe it to the people, to do something honestly medical," Gardner said. "And CBD is honestly medical."

DeMoura could see it. "Twenty years ago it was just cannabis," he said. "The bridge to legalization is medical marijuana. I believe the bridge from medical marijuana to real science will be CBDs."

Meanwhile, two hours up Highway 101, William Courtney toiled in the laboratory that is Mendocino County. Maybe nowhere else in the country could a pot doc advise growing 40 plants -- enough for one juicing each day on the 45-day cycle required of the auto-flowering strain. Not only is it possible here, but a striking number of patients truly do not want to get high.

"I'm a mediator, so I don't want any psycho-activity," said a yoga enthusiast.

"I have two tokes and I pass out. It's unbearable," said the one-armed man.

Office hours over, Courtney climbed into his pickup, flicked on the radar detector intended to minimize encounters with the police, and steered over the switchbacks of the coast range toward home. His father was in from Michigan, watching the surf pound the rocks below the picture window and playing with his granddaughter, born 14 months earlier to Kristen, whose insides at one point were so bad off a doctor warned she would never bear children.

"Irv?" she called from the kitchen counter cluttered with carrots, pears, apples and Pineapple Thai. "You want a glass of juice?"

The old man looked up from the sea. "Sure," he said.

[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Offline shahaggy

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President Obama’s Marijuana Problem

April 22, 2010 – NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Now that an initiative to legalize marijuana is officially on the California ballot this November, President Obama should brace for a strong jolt from the west.

If the measure passes (the latest poll puts support at 56 percent), no longer will it be a crime under state law for an adult to cultivate, possess or transport a personal supply of pot. Moreover, cities and counties will be authorized to regulate and tax commercial production, distribution and sale of marijuana, subject to restrictions and protections for minors and public safety. Revenue raised by marijuana sales would go to local governments, not Sacramento. Initiatives are also in the works in Washington and Oregon.

The president’s dilemma, in confronting state repeal of prohibition, lies in that marijuana will remain prohibited under federal law. It’s not the first time something like this has happened.

In 1923, during the prohibition whose era now
gets a capital P, New York repealed its alcohol-prohibition laws, shifting the burden and expense of enforcement onto federal authorities. Not only did the state gain significant savings in law- enforcement costs, but perhaps as a consequence, for the remaining 10 years of Prohibition New York City escaped the level of crime and violence that plagued some other large cities, such as Chicago and Detroit. It also explains why, in movies of the era, police are often called the “Feds.”

If California voters see marijuana prohibition as unsustainable and vote accordingly, howls will arise, most audibly from politicized public employees who see their jobs at risk. There will be the usual bleating about “sending the wrong message” to children, as if criminal-justice policy should be based on how it might be misconstrued by the immature. Moralists will sputter. Congress will bluster. It will be a splendid kerfuffle.

Faced with no local marijuana enforcement, the president’s choices are limited. He could send in armies of federal agents to patrol the streets and surveil backyards and basements. In no time, surely, the corridors of federal courthouses would fill with sad-eyed teenagers and small-time pot dealers, and already overburdened judges will roar.

Another option may be to retreat, as with medical marijuana, ordering federal police to ignore conduct that is in compliance with state law, including licensed and regulated farms, plants and shops. However, this restraint conflicts with the president’s constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” notwithstanding the stated reason for not interfering with medical marijuana was that the Feds simply do not have the resources.

The president’s best option is the last resort of scoundrels and statesmen alike: to tell the truth. He can remind the nation that marijuana was outlawed early in the last century to oppress minorities, and, shamefully, its prohibition continues to serve that function. He can deplore how the government uses the marijuana laws to insinuate itself into the personal lives of Americans, leaving millions with stained records that rule out good jobs and even an education. He can lament how it is really marijuana prohibition that “sends the wrong message” to children, by conflating the concepts of use and abuse, undermining honest drug education.

He could condemn the utter hypocrisy of outlawing marijuana, which has never killed anyone, while we regulate and tax alcohol and tobacco, both deadly, and celebrate drink as an integral part of many social rituals.

He could admit the obvious fact that marijuana has become an inextricable part of our culture, despite decades of anti-drug propaganda. He could challenge the defenders of prohibition to tell us how many more people will have to be arrested, prosecuted and punished before marijuana is extirpated from our land, and how much that will cost, and where the money will come from to pay for it.

On June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan stood at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and exhorted Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” November may well deliver an exhortation from the voters of California to tear down the wall of marijuana prohibition.

Might this be Obama’s Gorbachevian moment?  By RICHARD M. EVANS

http://hempnews.tv/2010/04/22/president-obamas-marijuana-problem/
[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Online CeeDub

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From the good folks at Esquire Magazine

Offline bdlaw

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It's the day after yesterday, of course!

Oh and also my birthday. ;D

:dronabinol:
Bobblehead: Wow, BMWs, cameras, and anal probes. Are we in Berlin?

[10:33 AM] del ban Woodsy: You do that and I will wash your mouth out with summer's eve after I kick your ass jehu.

Darna: it's because my people spend much of their lives barefoot, so when they discover shoes, it's a party!

RB: i rubbed mine last night to be ready for tonight

Burroughs: Thank you for a country in which no one is free to mind his own business

Offline Frank M

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Maaaaaaan, I can't even spell the asshole's name right.  What day is today again?

Offline Frank M

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADOLPH!! May your carcass rot in perpetuity.

(RooR and The Volcano weren't part of your plans, were they?)

Offline jcpeace

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HAPPY POT SMOKING DAY, EVERYONE !!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/22H1ciSvVm8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/22H1ciSvVm8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>
"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep." Frank Zappa (1965)

TheFang: Did you know they were made in chicken eggs! Oh no! Not chickens.

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<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/b6t1EM4Onao&amp;color1=0xb1b1b1&amp;color2=0xcfcfcf&amp;hl=en_US&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/b6t1EM4Onao&amp;color1=0xb1b1b1&amp;color2=0xcfcfcf&amp;hl=en_US&amp;feature=player_embedded&amp;fs=1</a>
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline shahaggy

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I heard it was 2 oz a month also which would work out just fine, 1/2 oz a week sounds good to me! ;D
[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Online Binky

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2 grams a month? How much is that? Like two skinny joints? That's only enough for one weekend if you don't share! How are you supposed get high the rest of the month? Buy it on the street like some common criminal?

The news this morning said two ounces.  I haven't investigated further.  It was Fox News (it was on at the gym), so maybe they were wrong about that or exaggerating.
nikki: i can't keep up with rab and his George Clooney lifestyle of drinking wine, playing music and philanthropy

Offline elgoodo

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[06:11 PM]  fasteddie: jesus, this SB is deader than JC Vibe

Online TheFang

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You know, I'm really glad that NJ passed this law, it's important to help people who are sick and have our laws more closely reflect reality. But I saw this quote in the NYT article about this passing and something in it really stuck out at me:

Quote
“It’s nice to finally see a day when democracy helps heal people,” said Charles Kwiatkowski, 38, one of dozens of patients who rallied at the State House before the vote and broke into applause when the lawmakers approved the measure.


So, a few dozen folks show up and they pass the medical marijuana bill, hundreds show up in support of gay marriage and most of them can't be bothered to even vote. It's just interesting to see the things that politicians in NJ consider safe things to vote on and for. I just wish we could have both.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline jcpeace

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2 grams a month? How much is that? Like two skinny joints? That's only enough for one weekend if you don't share! How are you supposed get high the rest of the month? Buy it on the street like some common criminal?




this is approximately 2 grams. from what i've been told from experts in the field, the medical stuff is super duper strong.
i guess it all depends on the illness  ;)
"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep." Frank Zappa (1965)

TheFang: Did you know they were made in chicken eggs! Oh no! Not chickens.

Offline fasteddie

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2 grams a month? How much is that? Like two skinny joints? That's only enough for one weekend if you don't share! How are you supposed get high the rest of the month? Buy it on the street like some common criminal?

Offline jcpeace

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Health and fitness, Statehouse »

Assembly approves medical marijuana bill


By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal[

January 11, 2010, 3:33PM

The state Assembly today approved The Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act.In a 48 to 14 vote the state Assembly today approved the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act.

The bill allows residents with certain illnesses, including Lou Gehrig's disease and muscular dystrophy, to obtain up to 2 grams of marijuana each month from six facilities across the state.

The legislation heads back to the Senate for a vote.

Among the bill's sponsors are Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Jersey City, Sen. Brian Stack, D-Union City and Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, D-Secaucus.

Before the vote Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton, noted that it will be the strictest legalized marijuana bill in the United States.

"We have a good bill that will be very strict and will not decriminalize marijuana, but will allow doctors to prescribe the best treatment for their patients," he said.
"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep." Frank Zappa (1965)

TheFang: Did you know they were made in chicken eggs! Oh no! Not chickens.

AmbushBug

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Assembly approves ending mandatroy prison sentences
« Reply #34 on: 01-07-2010, 04:09pm »
N.J. Assembly approves ending mandatroy prison sentences for school zone drug offenses

By Chris Megerian/Statehouse Bureau
January 07, 2010, 3:53PM

TRENTON -- People arrested for some drug offenses near schools should no longer face mandatory prison sentences, lawmakers decided today.

Assembly members voted 46-30 to send the bill (A2762) to the governor's desk for final approval.

The state has imposed mandatory prison terms of one to three years for people caught dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school since 1987.

“The mandatory minimum sentencing the zones require has effectively created two different sentences for the same crime, depending on where an individual lives," Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) said in a statement. "This is geographic discrimination at its most basic."

Supporters of the bill say those sentences have unnecessarily stuffed New Jersey prisons with nonviolent offenders who deserve probation or access to drug treatment programs.

Almost 70 percent of the 6,720 drug offenders serving time in state prisons have mandatory minimum sentences, according to the Department of Corrections.


The bill passed yesterday would allow judges to reduce the required minimum sentence or impose probation, depending on whether the offense occurred when school was in session, its proximity to school grounds, and if children were present.

Sentences could not be reduced if the offense took place on school grounds or if it involved violence or a gun.

In addition, the bill will allow current inmates to appeal the mandatory minimum sentences they’ve already received.

“This is a progressive solution to a complex problem,” Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) said in a statement.

The bill passed 24-11 in the Senate on Dec. 10, then returned to the Assembly for final approval today.

Note: MCA, I'm not sure if I put this in the right thread. Do we have some other crime/legislation thread it would fit better in?

Online MÇA

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New Jersey Likely Next to Legalize Medical Marijuana
« Reply #33 on: 12-01-2009, 12:12pm »
New Jersey Likely Next to Legalize Medical Marijuana
By SUZANNE SATALINE

New Jersey is poised to become the next state to allow residents to use marijuana, when recommended by a doctor, for relief from serious diseases and medical conditions.

The state Senate has approved the bill and the state Assembly is expected to follow. The legislation would then head to the governor's office for his signature.

Gov. Jon Corzine, the Democrat who lost his re-election bid last month, has indicated he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office in January. It would likely be one of Mr. Corzine's last acts before relinquishing the job to Republican Chris Christie.

Mr. Christie has indicated he would be supportive of such legislation, but had concerns that one draft of a bill he read didn't have enough restrictions, a spokeswoman said.

The bill has been endorsed by the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians and the New Jersey State Nurses Association.

Some lawmakers oppose the legislation, saying they fear the proliferation of marijuana dispensaries, as in California, where medical marijuana is legal. "It sends a mixed message to our children if you can walk down the street and see pot shops," said Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.

Federal law bars the use of marijuana. But legislatures in several states, including California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont, permit use of the drug for medical purposes. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this year that federal prosecutors wouldn't prosecute people complying with state medical marijuana laws.

The New Jersey bill would allow people with debilitating medical conditions to grow, possess and use marijuana for personal use, provided that a physician allows it after completing a full assessment of the patient's history and condition. The conditions that are stipulated in the Senate bill include cancer, glaucoma and human immunodeficiency viruses.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat who has led the fight for the medical-marijuana bill, said that was not a final list. He said the Senate bill would have to be reconciled with whatever the Assembly might pass. (more)

Offline shahaggy

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U.S. Mellows on Medical Marijuana

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department told federal prosecutors Monday they shouldn't pursue medical-marijuana users who comply with state laws, a step activists said may encourage more states to partially legalize the drug.

A three-page memo from Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, affirming a policy disclosed earlier this year, said it was "unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources" to prosecute "individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen."

The memo, sent to U.S. attorneys nationwide, said the Justice Department continued to view pot as a dangerous drug and that the new policy shouldn't prevent prosecutors from pursuing cases where state laws are being used as a cover for illegal activity.

Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said issuing formal guidelines "certainly lifts a cloud from the people in states that allow medical marijuana." Mr. Mirken, whose group opposes criminal penalties for pot use, added, "I think in terms of state legislatures and governors, as a policy matter, it gives them a great deal of reassurance" in considering medical-marijuana laws.

Rules vary in the 13 states that have medical-marijuana laws on the books, but the common theme is that seriously ill residents who have recommendations from doctors to use marijuana as a treatment shouldn't fear arrest.

Several states are considering bills that would allow the use of medical marijuana. Delaware has a bill pending, and lawmakers in New Hampshire are expected later this month to hold a vote on overriding the governor's veto of a bill they passed earlier this year.

 Some state legislators and governors have been reluctant to support medical-marijuana laws because they would put their residents at risk of federal charges.

The Obama administration's policy emerged at a February news conference in which Attorney General Eric Holder said federal raids would be stopped on medical-marijuana dispensaries in the states where voters have made medical marijuana legal. Agents had previously conducted such raids under federal law, which doesn't provide any exceptions to its pot prohibition.

A Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman on Monday said the agency had been adhering to the guidance since January.

James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest law-enforcement labor organization, said the policy change -- along with other proposed changes on criminal-justice issues, such as easing the penalties on crack-cocaine crimes -- "looks like we're taking a somewhat different approach to criminal justice."

Even with the new guidelines, federal pot policy remains muddled. On a government Web site about the perils of marijuana abuse, the DEA says "smoked marijuana is not a medicine," and contrasts the federal approval process for prescription drugs with state medical-marijuana laws, which it calls "inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the approval process."

The guidelines do little to clarify the situation in California, where voters approved a medical-marijuana initiative in 1996 but rules vary widely by county. The regulations allow doctors to recommend pot for medical use and enable medical caregivers to provide pot, though not for a profit.

Since then, the state has largely left interpretation of the law to local agencies. As a result, the amount of medical marijuana a person may have -- and the ways in which the drug may be sold -- isn't consistent.

Alameda County, which includes Oakland, has allowed a handful of storefront pot dispensaries. Other counties have banned storefront dispensaries or tried to close marijuana stores.

Los Angeles County has been struggling with a ballooning number of marijuana markets. District Attorney Steve Cooley said last week that most, and perhaps all, of the hundreds of dispensaries there violate state law. Los Angeles has banned new medical-marijuana dispensaries, but on Monday a Superior Court judge there issued an injunction against the ban in one such case.

—John Emshwiller contributed to this article.
Write to Gary Fields at gary.fields@wsj.com and Justin Scheck at justin.scheck@wsj.com


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125595221988793895.html
[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Online TheFang

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Good on the Star Ledger for actually getting voices on the pro-reform side, not just people saying that it will harm the childrens!



http://videos.nj.com/star-ledger/2009/09/new_jersey_considers_a_medical.html
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.


Offline skwirrlking

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that should help spring break traffic

Online TheFang

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Mexico Legalizes Drug Possession

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: August 21, 2009

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico enacted a controversial law on Thursday decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs while encouraging government-financed treatment for drug dependency free of charge.

The law sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities will no longer face criminal prosecution; the law goes into effect on Friday.

Anyone caught with drug amounts under the personal-use limit will be encouraged to seek treatment, and for those caught a third time treatment is mandatory — although no penalties for noncompliance are specified.

Mexican authorities said the change only recognized the longstanding practice here of not prosecuting people caught with small amounts of drugs.

The maximum amount of marijuana considered to be for “personal use” under the new law is 5 grams — the equivalent of about four marijuana cigarettes. Other limits are half a gram of cocaine, 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams for methamphetamine and 0.015 milligrams of LSD.

President Felipe Calderón waited months before approving the law.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline shahaggy

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RI Senate approves
marijuana stores
Would enable patients to get medical
marijuana
Updated: Wednesday, 10 Jun 2009, 11:03 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 09 Jun 2009, 5:35 PM EDT

Nancy Krause
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - A bill that would allow nonprofit stores in Rhode Island to sell marijuana to medical patients is headed to the governor's desk. The state Senate passed the bill Tuesday afternoon by a 30-2 margin.

The bill has already passed the House and now heads to Governor Donald Carcieri for approval. The governor vetoed similar legislation last year.

If it becomes law, the bill would allow so-called compassion centers to sell marijuana to registered patients with debilitating illnesses. Right now, 680 patients are registered with the Department of Health's medical marijuana program.

State lawmakers approved the use of medical marijuana in 2006, however they never legalized the sale of the drug. Under the current bill, Rhode Island would be the third state in the country and the first on the East Coast to approve marijuana dispensaries for medical patients.

“Sick patients and their caregivers shouldn’t have to risk their safety and deal with criminals to get the relief they need,” said bill sponsor Senator Rhode Perry (D-Dist. 3, Providence). “Rhode Island was compassionate enough a few years ago to recognize the benefit of marijuana for those who are suffering, and I’m proud that we’re now taking the next logical and necessary step and recognizing that patients need a safe, legal means to get it.”

Governor Carcieri has a week to either sign the legislation or veto it. If he does nothing, the bill will automatically become law without his signature. The legislation passed each chamber with significantly more than the three-fifths majority necessary to override a veto.

[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Offline shahaggy

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[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Online TheFang

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Hey peoples, call your assembly members. NJ's medical marijuana bill will be before committee on THURSDAY (yes, tomorrow), it's already passed the senate by a wide margin. Now, I know none of our local folks are on said committee, but we can still show then that we support this bill. Come on, lets do this while we still have a man for governor who said he'd sign it without question.



-----------

Medical marijuana bill to appear before New Jersey Assembly committee Thursday
by Stephen J. Novak
Monday June 01, 2009, 4:29 PM

The state Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee is scheduled to vote on a medical marijuana bill Thursday, according to a legislative calendar.

The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was passed by the state Senate in February by a 22-16 vote.

The committee can amend the bill and allow it to move to the full Assembly for a vote, which would move New Jersey closer to becoming the 14th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he will sign the bill.

Under the bill, patients suffering from life-threatening or debilitating illnesses could be qualified to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. Patients would need to register with the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and would receive registration cards indicating that they are allowed to legally possess and use medical marijuana.

    "Our elected officials need to pass this important legislation," said Roseanne Scotti, director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, in a news release today. "New Jerseyans believe that if they or a loved one have a serious illness, and are suffering, that they should have every option for relieving that suffering."

There is some division in medical and law enforcement communities about the bill, though a majority of area police officials seem to be against it.

    "Taking something that is illegal for the majority of the population and making it legal for a very small portion of the population is going to make it hard for the officer on the street," Greenwich Township Police Chief Rich Guzzo said not long after the Senate's passage. "It's going to be a courtroom nightmare."
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Online TheFang

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It must be 4:20, the NY Times is acknowledging that marijuana exists.

Marijuana Advocates Point to Signs of Change

By JESSE McKINLEY

SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, somewhere in New York City, 420 people will gather for High Times magazine’s annual beauty pageant, a secretly located and sold-out event that its sponsor says will “turn the Big Apple into the Baked Apple and help us usher in a new era of marijuana freedom in America.”

They will not be the only ones partaking: April 20 has long been an unofficial day of celebration for marijuana fans, an occasion for campus smoke-outs, concerts and cannabis festivals. But some advocates of legal marijuana say this year’s “high holiday” carries extra significance as they sense increasing momentum toward acceptance of the drug, either as medicine or entertainment.

“It is the biggest moment yet,” said Ethan Nadelmann, the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, who cited several national polls showing growing support for legalization. “There’s a sense that the notion of legalizing marijuana is starting to cross the fringes into mainstream debate.”

For Mr. Nadelmann and others like him, the signs of change are everywhere, from the nation’s statehouses — where more than a dozen legislatures have taken up measures to allow some medical use of marijuana or some easing of penalties for recreational use — to its swimming pools, where an admission of marijuana use by the Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps was largely forgiven with a shrug.

Long stigmatized as political poison, the marijuana movement has found new allies in prominent politicians, including Representatives Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, who co-wrote a bill last year to decrease federal penalties for possession and to give medical users new protections.

The bill failed, but with the recession prompting bulging budget deficits, some legislators in California and Massachusetts have gone further, suggesting that the drug could be legalized and taxed, a concept that has intrigued even such ideologically opposed pundits as Glenn Beck of Fox News and Jack Cafferty of CNN.

“Look, I’m a libertarian,” Mr. Beck said on his Feb. 26 program. “You want to legalize marijuana, you want to legalize drugs — that’s fine.”

All of which has longtime proponents of the drug feeling oddly optimistic and even overexposed.

“We’ve been on national cable news more in the first three months than we typically are in an entire year,” said Bruce Mirken, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, a reform group based in Washington. “And any time you’ve got Glenn Beck and Barney Frank agreeing on something, it’s either a sign that change is impending or that the end times are here.”

Beneficiaries of the moment include Norml, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which advocates legalization, and other groups like it. Norml says that its Web traffic and donations (sometimes in $4.20 increments) have surged, and that it will begin a television advertising campaign on Monday, which concludes with a plea, and an homage, to President Obama.

“Legalization,” the advertisement says, “yes we can!”

That seems unlikely anytime soon. In a visit last week to Mexico, where drug violence has claimed thousands of lives and threatened to spill across the border, Mr. Obama said the United States must work to curb demand for drugs.

Still, pro-marijuana groups have applauded recent remarks by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who suggested that federal law enforcement resources would not be used to pursue legitimate medical marijuana users and outlets in California and a dozen other states that allow medical use of the drug. Court battles are also percolating. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments last Tuesday in San Francisco in a 2007 lawsuit challenging the government’s official skepticism about medical uses of the drug.

But Allen F. St. Pierre, the executive director of Norml, said he had cautioned supporters that any legal changes that might occur would probably be incremental.

“The balancing act this year is trying to get our most active, most vocal supporters to be more realistic in their expectations in what the Obama administration is going to do,” Mr. St. Pierre said.

For fans of the drug, perhaps the biggest indicator of changing attitudes is how widespread the observance of April 20 has become, including its use in marketing campaigns for stoner-movie openings (like last year’s “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantánamo Bay”) and as a peg for marijuana-related television programming (like the G4 network’s prime-time double bill Monday of “Super High Me” and “Half Baked”).

Events tied to April 20 have “reached the tipping point in the last few years after being a completely underground phenomenon for a long time,” said Steven Hager, the creative director and former editor of High Times. “And I think that’s symptomatic of the fact that people’s perception of marijuana is reaching a tipping point.”

Mr. Hager said the significance of April 20 dates to a ritual begun in the early 1970s in which a group of Northern California teenagers smoked marijuana every day at 4:20 p.m. Word of the ritual spread and expanded to a yearly event in various places. Soon, marijuana aficionados were using “420” as a code for smoking and using it as a sign-off on fliers for concerts where the drug would be plentiful.

In recent years, the April 20 events have become so widespread that several colleges have urged students to just say no. At the University of Colorado, Boulder, where thousands of students regularly use the day to light up in the quad, administrators sent an e-mail message this month pleading with students not to “participate in unlawful activity that debases the reputation of your university and degree.”

A similar warning was sent to students at the University of California, Santa Cruz — home of the Grateful Dead archives — which banned overnight guests at residence halls leading up to April 20.

None of which, of course, is expected to discourage the dozens of parties — large and small — planned for Monday, including the top-secret crowning of Ms. High Times.

In San Francisco, meanwhile, where a city supervisor, Ross Mirkarimi, suggested last week that the city should consider getting into the medical marijuana business as a provider, big crowds are expected to turn out at places like Hippie Hill, a drum-happy glade in Golden Gate Park.

A cloud of pungent smoke is also expected to be thick at concerts like one planned at the Fillmore rock club, where the outspoken pro-marijuana hip-hop group Cypress Hill is expected to take the stage at 4:20 p.m.

“You can see twice the amount of smoke as you do at a regular show,” said B-Real, a rapper in the group. “And it’s a great fragrance.”
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Online TheFang

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Some people are more then happy to pay more taxes:

A Different Kind of ‘Tea Party’


What would you do with an extra $14 billion dollars? Members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) want to find out.

Earlier this morning, the organization presented a mock check to the U.S Treasury Department in the sum of $14 billion dollars. The check total represents the combined savings and tax revenues that would be generated by regulating the sale and production of cannabis like alcohol

“We represent the millions of otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers who are ready, willing, vocal and able to contribute needed tax revenue to America’s struggling economy,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said at a press conference at the steps of the general post office in New York City. “All we ask in exchange for our $14 billion is that our government respects our decision to use marijuana privately and responsibly.”

But it’s not just NORML that is calling on lawmakers to tax and regulate marijuana. In today’s economic climate, the question is: who isn’t?

Late last month, during President Barack Obama’s first-ever Internet Town Hall, questions pertaining to whether legalizing marijuana like alcohol could help boost the economy received more votes from the public than did any other topic. The questions’ popularity — and the President’s half-hearted reply (”No,” he laughed.) — stimulated a torrent of mainstream media attention. In the past two weeks alone, commentators like David Sirota (The Nation), Kathleen Parker (Washington Post), Paul Jacob (TownHall.com), Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune), and Jack Cafferty (CNN) have all expressed sympathy for regulating pot. Even Joe Klein at Time Magazine weighed in on the issue, writing this month that “legalizing marijuana makes sense.”

It makes cents too.

According to a 2005 analysis by Harvard University senior lecturer Jeffrey Miron — and endorsed by over 500 distinguished economists — replacing pot prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcohol would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year.

A separate economic analysis, conducted by George Mason University professor Jon Gettman in 2007, estimates that the total amount of tax revenue derived from cannabis could be far higher. According to Gettman, the retail value of the total U.S. marijuana market now stands at a whopping $113 billion per year. Using standard tax percentages obtained from the Office of Management and Budget, he calculates that the diversion of this market from the taxable economy deprives taxpayers of $31.1 billion annually.

For local and state governments, taxing and regulating pot could help reduce growing deficits. For instance, in Oakland, California the City Council gave preliminary approval last week to a proposal to raise the business tax paid by city-licensed medical marijuana dispensary operators. Council members estimate that the new tax will raise anywhere from $400,000 to a “couple million” dollars annually.

Likewise, lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are debating statewide measures to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults. Both state proposals would impose a fixed excise tax on the retail production of marijuana — non-retail cultivation would remain untaxed — as well as sales taxes on the commercial sale of the drug to anyone 21 years and older.

“The revenue effect of the proposed Act is an estimated annual revenue gain of $1.339 billion,” says the California State Board of Equalization and Taxation, which is backing the measure. A more liberal economic assessment performed by California NORML’s Dr. Dale Gieringer estimates that the annual revenues raised via the advent of a legal cannabis industry in California could be far higher.

“A comparable example would be California’s wine industry,” Gieringer wrote in a 2009 report. “With $12.3 billion in retail sales, the wine industry generates 309,000 jobs, $10.1 billion in wages, and $2 billion in tourist expenditures. Extrapolating these figures to a legal marijuana market, … one might expect $12 to $18 billion in total economic activity, with 60,000 to 110,000 new jobs created, and $2.5 to $3.5 billion in legal wages, which would generate additional income and business taxes for the state.”

Finally, taxing and regulating cannabis would have the added bonus of taking the production and trafficking of pot out of the hands of criminal enterprises and, increasingly, drug gangs. According to the Associated Press, marijuana is the “biggest source of income” for Mexican drug cartels. Legalizing pot would eliminate this primary income source for these cartels and, in turn, eliminate much of the growing violence and turf battles that currently surround the drug’s illegal importation from Mexico.

Any way you look at it, legalizing cannabis just “makes sense.” So why aren’t we doing it?

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the forthcoming book, Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chelsea Green, 2009).
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline Soshin

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Bakerman is baking bread.  Best Camberwell Carrot accompanying video of all time.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ymdssZOAx3Q&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ymdssZOAx3Q&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1</a>
« Last Edit: 03-28-2009, 12:40pm by Soshin »
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline Soshin

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Watch the buddha rise!!!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_8NNmJbpRXs&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_8NNmJbpRXs&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1</a>
"god hates you. you will all go to yuppie hell. in yuppie hell there is no starbucks or hole foods or sushi bar. in yuppie hell you will work 16 hours a day in a bodega. in yuppie hell your car will not start when the sweeper is coming down the street. in yuppie hell your doorman will terrorize you and have sex with your wife or husband...when you are at work....in the bodega. in yuppie hell you will go to the laundromat and lose your last quarter in a broken washing machine. in yuppie hell you will buy all your food and clothing at the 99 cent store. in yuppie hell there are no cell phones, you will use a pay phone. a filthy pay phone".      -   Cat_Man Dude

Offline duke_of_earl

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Our first Internet President?  I guess the internet is great when it gets votes, but when the voters bring up issues...eh, not so much.  IIRC, drug (leg|decrimin)alization was 3 or 4 of the top 10 questions on change.gov.  I can't seem to find the link any more due to the change.gov to whitehouse.gov shuffle...

duke

Offline jcpeace

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"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep." Frank Zappa (1965)

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Online TheFang

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<a href="http://images.salon.com/video.swf?id=w-76644-2014935" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://images.salon.com/video.swf?id=w-76644-2014935</a>
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline shahaggy

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[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Offline shahaggy

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[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Offline elgoodo

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I don't have time to read that. I'm too busy watching the Mexican border for illegals.   ::)
[06:11 PM]  fasteddie: jesus, this SB is deader than JC Vibe

Offline shahaggy

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[04:53 PM] Soshin: I don't think I've ever had fig spread Darna but I like figs and they make my sphincter sing power ballads

[12:48 PM] Bobblehead: Yo, you know I'm really happy for you and Ima let you finish, but soshin had one of the best meercat shouts of all time

[10:23 PM] skwirrlking: you submitting darna for beards eating cupcakes - mca?

[03:24 PM] Darna: [03:22 PM] jeht'aimeu: skw, you are climbing up my pole as well... 

[02:28 PM] propscene: I DPON"T MEAN I LOVE YOU DEEP INSIDE AS MUCH AS I LOVE HIM DEEP INSIDE OH GOD

[12:58 PM] nikki: i feel like i should like the opposite of whatever jehu says

Online TheFang

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I'm in a bit of pain most every day # :nerd: # and I would hate to think/live in a world where the Gummint would tell me what I could/coudn't use as an analgesiac . . .

Too late for the Dubster, you already do.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Online CeeDub

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I have met Bill Baroni and he is good people.

I'm in a bit of pain most every day # :nerd: # and I would hate to think/live in a world where the Gummint would tell me what I could/coudn't use as an analgesiac . . .

Online TheFang

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N.J. may soon allow medical marijuana use

BY MARY JO LAYTON
NorthJersey.com
STAFF WRITER

Patients suffering from cancer, AIDS and other chronic or debilitating illnesses could use marijuana medicinally under a bill passed by the state Senate today.
 
New Jersey would become the 14th state to have a medical marijuana law, which would allow patients to keep six marijuana plants and one ounce for personal use.
 
State Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari, D-Linden, said the legislation he sponsored was as "an avenue of last resort" for patients suffering from nausea, chronic pain, wasting syndrome, seizures and other ailments.
 
"This is not the legalization of marijuana for recreational use," said Scuteri, a lawyer and municipal prosecutor. "We're not talking about thrill seekers and drug addicts here."
 
Under the proposed measure, patients would have to be diagnosed by their physicians as having a debilitating medical condition. The patient would then obtain a photo registry card issued by the state Department of Health and Senior Services so they could obtain marijuana from an alterative medicine center without fear of arrest or prosecution.
 
Supporters of the bill, including Sen. Bill Baroni, R-Mercer, offered passionate testimony about suffering patients, including a 37-year-old father of three young children plagued by multiple sclerosis who found relief from medical marijuana, not oxycotin, sleeping aids or other prescription painkillers.
 
State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Cresskill, was among several Republicans who opposed the bill, claiming it was written too broadly. Cardinale said he didn't object to the concept, but said that "a very small percentage" of users in states that allow medical marijuana are patients the law is intended to aid.
 
Cardinale cited an analysis of medical marijuana patient records reviewed by the San Diego County District Attorney, which revealed that less than three percent of patients were suffering from AIDS, glaucoma or cancer. Additionally, more than half of those permitted to use medical marijuana were under age 30 and research indicates the substance is harmful..
 
"Moderate use of marijuana causes brain cells to die," Cardinale said. "That's why the federal government made marijuana forbidden."
 
After the vote today, State Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said she supported it because it could give relief to chronically ill patients who were not benefiting from pain-relief prescriptions.
 
Weinberg noted that this weekend was the 10th anniversary of her husband's death following a long illness. Hospice nurses provided morphine, but her husband wasn't able to remain conscious, said Weinberg, D-Teaneck.
 
"To get relief and still be able to communicate would have been much better," she said.
 
Stephen Cuspilich, 46, of Burlington County, lobbied lawmakers in support of the measure before the vote today. Using a cane and carrying a plastic bottle with more than a dozen prescription pain medications to ease suffering from Crohn's Disease, he said marijuana had alleviated severe pain in his hips and back and stopped his vomiting.
 
"It's a social issue, not a criminal issue," said the father of three, a union pipefitter who can no longer work due to his disability.
 
Opponents of the measure, including John Tomicki, executive director of the League of the American Families, vowed to fight the proposal when it is considered in the Assembly. Each member would be polled by his organization to determine their vote prior to the election, he said. "They are going to be called and asked 'yes' or 'no,'" he said.
 
David Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition, cited the lack of scientific evidence on marijuana use and noted that several law enforcement organizations and anti-drug groups -- including the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of New Jersey -- oppose the bill.
 
"The majority of people who are getting it are using it for back pain, insomnia and other minor problems," Evans said. "The standards for who gets it are very loose."
 
However, the public typically supports legalizing marijuana for chronically ill patients, said Roseanne Scotti, director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey.
 
"It's polled as high as 86 percent in favor, Scotti said. "Everybody understands this could be me, my loved one, she said. "It's the option everybody would want."
 
The bill passed 22 to 16, mostly along partisan lines. Five Republicans voted for it. Two Essex County senators abstained from voting. It was unclear this afternoon when the Assembly might consider the legislation.
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline jcpeace

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a) ouch! my knee!
b)please pass the girl scout cookies  :P

c)


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« Last Edit: 02-26-2009, 04:48pm by jcpeace »
"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep." Frank Zappa (1965)

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Online TheFang

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Holder says Feds will stop medical marijuana raids



For those of you keeping score at home, add another major policy shift by the Obama administration to the tally. Breaking with precedent set under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the Department of Justice will not raid medical marijuana dispensaries allowed under certain state laws.

President Obama had promised this during the campaign, but a recent raid -- conducted before new officials were in place -- led some to question whether that promise would be kept. On Wednesday, Huffington Post's Ryan Grim reports, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that it would be.

It's a common misperception that, in states like California which have passed measures legalizing it, medical marijuana is completely legal. It's not. Federal law takes precedence, and federal authorities have made no secret of their belief that any user or distributor -- even one authorized by the state -- can be arrested at any time.

There are, at most, only a handful of people who can legally use medical marijuana whenever and wherever they please -- marijuana supplied to them by the federal government, no less. They were part of a program that ran from the late 1970's until the 1990's, when the first Bush administration shut it down, and they were grandfathered in. When last I checked, there were an estimated five patients still remaining, but that was a few years ago, and one or more may have died since.
― Alex Koppelman
"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob. It's my hobby." -- D.D.

Offline Soshin

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decriminalization is a good first step.......

but across the board legalization and regulation of ALL drugs should be the ultimate goal.
this would certainly stimulate the economy, be much safer and would get government out of the legislation of regressive morality business.



+1... however...

Decriminalization is more or less already the way in the UK where pot is a Class-C drug resulting in nothing more than a small fine for possession of a small amount.  The downside to this particular step is that the government really doesn't make that much money off those fines and the distribution and real capital is still in the hands of the drug dealers.

They need to go straight to the legalization and taxation of it without this somewhat pointless first step.  We've already done all the studies about the harmful/harmlessness, let people make their own decisions.
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Offline jcpeace

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decriminalization is a good first step.......

but across the board legalization and regulation of ALL drugs should be the ultimate goal.
this would certainly stimulate the economy, be much safer and would get government out of the legislation of regressive morality business.

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Online TheFang

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Though I will say one thing, that might make me lose my fans here.  ;)

I am against legalization until there is a test that can be done similar to a brethalizer to test and see if people are intoxicated while driving. At the moment the best tests (urine, blood, hair) don't test for right now, they can go back months. So when you can come up with a test that says I'm high now and shouldn't be driving as apposed to I was high yesterday, then we can legalize it.
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Offline PuddinPop

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+1 on Decriminilization happening first.
Thanks for the insight Fang


Online TheFang

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It'll never pass because of all the years of the drug wars people can't seem to see the difference between marijuana and heroin. There's a difference between just legalizing it and making it as available as milk, and making it like alcohol and putting some real regulation and restrictions on it.
Not only will it save billions of dollars in money that we are putting in to lose the "war on drugs", but marijuana is California's largest cash crop. California (which is the world's 5th largest economy btw), just had a major problem passing their budget last week, and this could very easily fill that gap and give them a surplus. It would also help the rest of this country get out of debt as well.

But, I think going straight for legalization is the wrong idea, what should be pushed first is decriminalization, which will at least start us down the right road of saving tons of money by not arrest people with possession and throwing them in prison. Especially in a state like CA with it's moronic three strikes policy. Which is also part of the reason why they're having such trouble staying afloat because of the over crowding in their prisons, but that's for another thread.

Someone who could put this alot better then me said last night: (emphasis mine)
Quote
The majority of Americans are far from chanting for legalization, but, realistically, that's the wrong question—should we leeeeeegalize marijuana?—to ask. I've spoken to lots of middle-of-the-road folks who think arresting people for smoking pot is wasteful and wrong, but they oppose legalizing marijuana "because it's illegal" (which is the sort of circular logic that makes you wonder if humans are devolving as species). But I understand where they're coming from. Drugs are harshly prohibited, so the idea of just legalizing pot all willy nilly is pretty terrifying to a lot of parents. All these questions arise: Would pot be sold next to Snickers bars in the candy store, handed out with milk in the lunch line, placed like prizes in the bottom of Cracker Jacks boxes? Jesus, no legalization for me, thanks.

More realistically, the most lax rules for pot would be similar to alcohol: standards for quality and potency, mechanisms for licensing dealers, and minimum age requirements for consumers, etc. But—seriously—we are not about to drop the entire war on pot and start taxing it overnight. So the fact that only a minority of people say they "want to legalize pot" right now is a moot point.

The question for people is whether they would support decriminalizing marijuana. This is a locally attainable, easily implemented policy that makes penalties less harsh but keeps pot against the rules. It's still bad, mkay? Police can take the stash, give folks a ticket, etc. Just last November, Massachusetts decriminalized pot—the penalty for possessing an ounce is now only a $100 fine—with 65 percent of the electorate voting for it. Pot smokers aren't going to the slammer, kids aren't smoking dope in the lunch line; no legalization required. So the question that would better elicit where America stands on illicit pot is this: Would you support decriminalizing marijuana for adult personal use, so that police could not arrest people for possessing it but instead issue them a fine like a parking ticket?



Though, one thing to keep in mind is that Obama's appointment for our new Drug Czar, is the former police chief of Seattle, and according to those out there he has been much more liberal, or at least common sensical towards drug policy, unlike our past several drug czars, with the exception of Elvis of course. ;)

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Offline bdlaw

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Good luck with this. Even as wacky as the Ninth District can get this'll never fly IMO.
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I wanna burn one down, move to the Emerald triangle with me  O0
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Offline PuddinPop

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Those Californians sure are progressive on many levels we here are not...
Just one more reason I am heading west.


______________________________________________________________________________________________
Legal pot: Bill sees cash harvest for state


ShareThisBy Jim Sanders
jsanders@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009 - 8:10 am
Smoke weed – help the state?

Marijuana would be sold and taxed openly in California to adults 21 and older if legislation proposed Monday is signed into law.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said his bill could generate big bucks for a cash-starved state while freeing law enforcement agencies to focus on worse crimes.

"I think there's a mentality throughout the state and the country that this isn't the highest priority – and that maybe we should start to reassess," he said.

Critics counter that it makes no sense for a Legislature so concerned about health that it has restricted use of trans fats in restaurants to legalize the smoking of a potentially harmful drug.

"I think substance abuse is just ruining our society," said Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley. "I can't support that."

"I think it's a slippery slope," Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto, said of easing pot laws. "We'll do everything we can to defeat it."

Medical use of marijuana already is legal in California, but the new legislation would go a step further by allowing recreational use.

Assembly Bill 390 would charge cannabis wholesalers $5,000 initially and $2,500 annually for the right to distribute weed.

Retail outlets would pay fees of $50 per ounce of cannabis to generate revenue for drug education programs statewide.

The bill would prohibit cannabis near schools. It also would ban smoking it in public places or growing it in public view.

Before California could sell marijuana openly, however, it would have to persuade the federal government to alter its prohibition on pot.

Ammiano said that such a change in federal law might be possible because new President Barack Obama – several years ago – expressed a desire to consider decriminalizing marijuana.

If the federal ban never is lifted, AB 390 would prohibit state and local officers from assisting federal agencies in enforcing marijuana laws.

It would instruct state and local officers not to make arrests for cultivating, selling, possessing, transporting or using the drug.

Capitol visitors interviewed randomly Monday had mixed views about AB 390.

"It makes a lot of sense," said Claudia Murdock, 59, of Folsom. "It's so black market now – and a tremendous amount of money could be generated."

Gabriel Antonio Evans, 29, said people already are acquiring marijuana now, legal or not.

"Like any other drug, if people want to get high, they're going to find a way," he said.

Timotao Parker, a 43-year-old Napa resident, said use of marijuana in the past prompted him to try other drugs.

"It lowers the inhibitions and makes you want to try other stuff, just like alcohol," he said.

Theresa Loya, 43, of Mariposa, said the bill indirectly could affect children.

"I'm afraid it would send the wrong message – that drugs are OK," she said.

Marijuana's supporters and critics often argue over whether pot poses risks.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy contends that short-term effects of marijuana use can range from memory loss to anxiety and increased heart rate.

The state attorney general's office declined to comment Monday on AB 390, as did the U.S. Department of Justice and federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

California reported 16,124 felony and 57,995 misdemeanor arrests linked to marijuana in 2007, the most recent statistics available.

Possessing less than 28.5 grams of cannabis can result in a base fine of up to $100 under state law, an amount that can rise to more than $350 with state and county penalty assessments.

Possessing larger amounts of marijuana can draw a maximum six-month jail sentence and/or a base fine of $500 under state law.

In a state whipsawed by recession and falling retail sales, legalization of marijuana could provide a much-needed financial boon, supporters claim.

"Marijuana already plays a huge role in the California economy," said Stephen Gutwillig, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "It's a revenue opportunity we literally can't afford to ignore any longer."

Gutwillig said the state's prohibition on marijuana also has been "a disaster when it comes to keeping pot out of the hands of young people."

A state-sponsored survey of California children in 2007 found that marijuana had been used by 9 percent of seventh-graders, 25 percent of high school freshmen, and 42 percent of 11th-graders.

Board of Equalization Chairwoman Betty Yee released a statement Monday supporting Ammiano's bill as a way to help law enforcement set priorities while raising new revenues.

AB 390 could generate roughly $1.3 billion per year from marijuana sales – about $990 million from the fee on retailers and $349 million in sales taxes, according to BOE estimates.

Anita Gore, BOE spokeswoman, said the agency estimates the value of marijuana grown annually in California at about $4 billion. Other estimates put the figure as high as $14 billion.

Legalizing marijuana is not supported by the California Narcotics Association, California Police Chiefs Association or California Peace Officers Association, lobbyist John Lovell said.

Lovell said it's "preposterous" to say that AB 390 would free officers to focus on worse crimes.

"Law enforcement activities always have been prioritized," he said.

"But to say that law enforcement should simply write off whole classes of socially destructive conduct I think is very bad public policy."

http://www.sacbee.com/capitolandcalifornia/story/1647570.html



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