Releaf Magazine
13May/130

D.C. – Up in smoke; June 1 first dispensary set to open!

Even if Obama doesn't support it, WE as the PEOPLE have the power and the right to vote, be heard! - ILLA

obama_medical_marijuana

 

The movement to legalize marijuana has arrived at Congress' back door.

Later this month the first medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to open in the nation's capital, including one just eight blocks from the Capitol dome.

The milestone is lifting the spirits of pot enthusiasts who believe a safe and profitable in D.C. could help nudge along the drug nationwide.

ABC News recently toured the Metropolitan Wellness Center, one of the district's three soon-to-open shops, located on Capitol Hill.

While pot products have yet to hit shelves – the shop is still awaiting a license from the district – general manager Vanessa West said they will soon offer multiple varieties of cannabis, paraphernalia and a mix of pot-infused products, including brownies, cookies and drinks.

West, a veteran operator of dispensaries in California who admits she "smoked a little grass in college," said the sleek, modern set-up of her "product selection and payment room" underscores a serious focus on patients and treating their pain.

"When we find out what a patient's symptoms are, we can make a recommendation about what the best strain is for them and what the best possible route for ingesting that strain is," she said.

"Forget about the recreational part for a second," she says to skeptics. "Listen to how cannabis has changed patients' lives for the better."

Only employees and patients registered with the District of Columbia Department of Health will be allowed inside the dispensary once weed sales officially commence. The shop will effectively go on lockdown, protected by a high-tech security system of a dozen cameras and motion sensors keeping watch.

"This is sort of a delicate business," West said. "It's like a bank or a high end jewelry store. We want to protect the product and the people that are inside this building."

Under district law, no one is allowed to consume pot on the premises, West said. Approved users are required to head directly home after making their purchases.

The rules for obtaining legal access to the drug are equally stringent. A prospective patient must be a district resident with one of the few qualifying diseases, such as AIDS, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis. A doctor must formally recommend the drug, and that recommendation must be certified by the Department of Health. Each patient must also submit an application and pay a license fee.

"It's a pretty difficult process, but it sort of needs to be," said West. "You don't want to create a free for all."

The dispensaries in D.C. will remain illegal under federal law, which still bans the cultivation and sale of marijuana as a dangerous and addictive "Schedule I" drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Officially, marijuana is classified has having "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S."

The headquarters for the Justice Department, the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal law, is located just four miles from the Metropolitan Wellness Center.

West says she's not worried about a raid.

"History has shown that if you are a dispensary operating in a state that is transparent and heavily regulated, the federal government is not interested in intervening," she said.

Medical marijuana is now allowed in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. In November, voters in Colorado and Washington took the movement further, endorsing the sale of marijuana without a prescription for recreational purposes. Both states are establishing regulatory regimens for pot similar to alcohol.

A poll released last month by the Pew Research Center found for the first time a majority of Americans now favor full legalization of marijuana. Fifty-two percent favor decriminalization, with 45 percent opposed.

The level of support is a landmark shift from 40 years ago when just 12 percent backed legalized pot, according to Gallup.

In light of the trend, President Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters in December that he's re-thinking federal prosecution of some marijuana users.

"It does not make sense, from a prioritization point of view, for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state laws that's legal," Obama said.

"We've got bigger fish to fry," he added.

The big question now for pro-pot states: Will the Justice Department spoil plans for dozens of new dispensaries, and a potential bonanza of millions in taxes and fees?

The Department, which is reviewing the new Colorado and Washington marijuana laws, has yet to formally decide whether or not they will be challenged in court.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from those states have re-invigorated legislative efforts to repeal or weaken the federal ban on pot. So far this year, seven bills dealing with marijuana have been introduced in the U.S. House, including one that would entirely decriminalize the drug.

All of the bills face an uphill climb, which means for now at least, the new D.C. dispensaries will remain at odds with the law.

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13Jun/120

June Issue now Available Online!

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14Mar/120

March Issue Now Available Online!

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9Feb/122

February CHAMPS Issue Available Now!

Click On Magazine below to View Issue 14

 

In This Issue:

Strains: StarDog & Lambs Bread

Articles: Secret Life of Water, Little Black Book of Marijuana, CHAMPS preview Special, Releaf report, CannaBuzz, CannaChef Interviews: "Joey's Mom" Mieko Perez

HomeGrown Gadget: Compact Ebb & Grow System

Advertisers: 11th State Consults, 2k Diffuser Beads, Atmos Vaporizers B&D Glassworks, BeeLine, Big Tony's, CannaMaineia, Celebration Pipes, Dime Bags, Dinafem, From Creation Remedies, Glass Gripper, Green Candy Press, Growing Crazy, Growology, Herb Trader, Herbal Healing, Incredibowl, It's All Good, Know your Grow, Maine Expo, Medical Cannabis Journal, MMJ Bottles, Mother Nature, Mr. Kiefbox, Organic Grow Hut, Phunky Stuff, PureSel, Sequel, Silver Willow, TLess, Vaporfection, Vortex

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12Dec/111

Happy Holidays! December Issue Available Now!

Click on Magazine to see December 2011 Issue!!!!

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31Oct/113

Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group Sues Obama Administration

 Thirdage.com

Posted by Mark DeLucas on October 29, 2011 1:48 PM

A California medical marijuana advocacy group is taking the Obama administration to court in an effort to halt the Justice Department's assault on marijuana growers and dispensers, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group based in Oakland, Calif., has filed suit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and northern California federal prosecutor Melinda Haag, claiming that the federal government's recent crackdown on medical marijuana operations is in violation of the Constitution's 10th Amendment.

Marijuana is a schedule 1 substance, deemed illegitimate for medicinal purposes and outlawed federally under the Controlled Substances Act, which the federal government is entitled to enforce. However, according to Americans for Safe Access, individual states are free to regulate substances as they see fit, and by virtue of the 10th Amendment the federal government cannot compel state authorities to contravene state law.

"Under the 10th Amendment, the government may not commandeer the law-making functions of the state or its subdivisions directly or indirectly through the selective enforcement of its drug laws," the suit claims.

"The federal government has instituted a policy to dismantle the medical marijuana laws of the state of California and to coerce its municipalities to pass bans on medical marijuana dispensaries," the lawsuit says. "To this end, the government has pursued an increasingly punitive strategy, which has involved criminal prosecutions of medical marijuana providers with draconian penalties and letters threatening local officials if they implement state law."

The suit cites, among other notices, a federal missive to the city of Oakland, informing city authorities that failure to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws would make them subject to prosecution.

"I like this lawsuit," San Francisco attorney Kenneth Wine told the San Francisco Weekly.

"While the federal government and its agents can do what they like in enforcing the federal criminal laws, they cannot compel the state to assist them," Wine said. "I suspect this case will cause the federal government in California to be very careful in the way they address state and local officials. Certainly, the threats and coercion against state and local officials by the U.S. Attorneys must stop, and likely will. For the feds to do otherwise is to put their marijuana enforcement strategy in jeopardy."

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25Oct/111

For the who?

Medical marijuana advocates to protest Obama, federal crackdown on California industry

 Not my president. -UA

By Peter Hecht fresnobee.com

Medical marijuana advocates, including dispensary operators and cultivators threatened with federal charges or property seizures, will use President Barack Obama's appearance in San Francisco today to protest "his administration's new attack on the medical marijuana community."

With the president in the city for a $7,500-per-plate fundraiser at the W Hotel, activists will hold a media gathering at another hotel "to call for federal policy reform" on medical marijuana, said California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.

The San Francisco Democrat is due to appear at press conference at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel along with Lynette Shaw, director of California's longest operating dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

The landlord for the dispensary, opened in 1996 and licensed by the city of Fairfax in 1997, was threatened in a letter by San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag with seizure of the property. Haag's letter also said dispensary operators could be subject to charges resulting in up to 40 years in prison under federal laws against narcotics dealing within 1,000 feet of a park.

Also scheduled for the event is Matt Cohen, whose Mendocino County Northstone Organics medical marijuana farm was raided by U.S. drug agents this month despite the fact his plants are tagged and monitored by the local sheriff under a county-supervised medical marijuana cultivation compliance program. He is expected to be joined by Steve DeAngelo, director of the Harborside Health Center, California's largest medical marijuana dispensary. The Internal Revenue Service has demanded $2.4 million in tax penalties, declaring Harborside couldn't take deductions for employee salaries and other business costs due to federal drug trafficking laws.

On October 7, California's four U.S. attorneys announced charges against other dispensaries and growers as well as financial speculators throughout the state's medicinal pot market.

The cases included that of a Southern California attorney said to have raked in millions of dollars while organizing a vast growing networks for dispensaries, including convincing two Sutter County tomato growers to convert their greenhouses to marijuana.

Also charged were operators of a North Hollywood medical marijuana store accused of shipping hundreds of pounds of marijuana out of state and six people tied to Sacramento's R & R Wellness Collective dispensary in a case that has included allegations of hoarding more than $250,000 in cash and distributing marijuana outside the store.

Haag said California's 1996 Compassionate Use Act for Marijuana "has been hijacked by profiteers who are motivated not by compassion but by money."

However, in a recent statement, Ammiano said Obama's justice department is overreaching in a broad "destructive attack on medical marijuana patients" that "is a waste of law enforcement resources and will cost the state millions in tax revenue and harm countless lives."

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7Oct/115

Who are they protecting??

APNewsBreak: Feds target Calif. pot dispensaries

By LISA LEFF Associated Press

#occupydispensaries? -UA

SAN FRANCISCO—Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation's burgeoning medical marijuana industry, California's s four U.S. attorneys sent letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 pot shops or their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The attorneys are scheduled to announce their coordinated crackdown at a Friday news conference.

Their offices refused to confirm the closure orders. The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law "takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana."

"Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego read. "Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary."

The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana following a two-year period during which federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors' recommendations.

The Department of Justice issued a policy memo to federal prosecutors in late June stating that marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws. The effort to shutter California dispensaries appears to be the most far-reaching effort so far to put that guidance into action.

"This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The Administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since President Obama took office," Kevin Sabet​, a former adviser to the president's drug czar who is a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Substance Abuse Solutions. "The challenge is to balance the scarcity of law enforcement resources and the sanctity of this country's medication approval process. It seems like the Administration is simply making good on multiple statements made previously to appropriately strike that balance."

Greg Anton, a lawyer who represents a Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said the 14-year-old dispensary's landlord received an "extremely threatening" letter Wednesday invoking a federal law that imposes additional penalties for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.

The landlord was ordered to evict the pot club or risk imprisonment, plus forfeiture of the property and all the rent he has collected while the dispensary has been in business, Anton said.

The Marin Alliance's founder "has been paying state and federal taxes for 14 years, and they have cashed all the checks," he said. "All I hear from Obama is whining about his budget, but he has money to do this which will actually reduce revenues."

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30Sep/114

Federal what!?

4 Americans Get Pot From US Government

by The Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Sometime after midnight on a moonlit rural Oregon highway, a state trooper checking a car he had just pulled over found pot on a passenger.

The discovery was not surprising in a marijuana-friendly state like Oregon, but the 72-year-old woman's defense was: She insisted the weed was legal and given to her by none other than the federal government.

A series of phone calls from a dubious trooper and his supervisor to federal authorities determined that the glaucoma patient was not joking — the U.S. government does grow and provide pot to a select few people across the United States.

For the past three decades, Uncle Sam has been providing patients with some of the highest grade marijuana around as part of a little-known program that grew out of a 1976 court settlement and created the country's first legal pot smoker. The program once provided 14 people government pot. Now, there are four left.

Advocates for legalizing marijuana or treating it as a medicine say the program is a glaring contradiction in the nation's 40-year war on drugs — maintaining the federal ban on pot while at the same time supplying it.

Government officials say there is no contradiction. The program is no longer accepting new patients, and public health authorities have concluded that there was no scientific value to it, Steven Gust of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse told The Associated Press. The government has only continued to supply the marijuana "for compassionate reasons," Gust said.

One of the recipients is Elvy Musikka, the chatty Oregon woman. A vocal marijuana advocate, Musikka relies on the pot to keep her glaucoma under control. She entered the program in 1988, and said that her experience with marijuana is proof that it works as a medicine.

They "won't acknowledge the fact that I do not have even one aspirin in this house," she said, leaning back on her couch, glass bong cradled in her hand. "I have no pain."

Marijuana is getting a look from states around the country considering calls to repeal decades-old marijuana prohibition laws. There are 16 states that have medical marijuana programs. In the three West Coast states, advocates are readying tax-and-sell or other legalization programs.

Marijuana was legal for much of U.S. history and was recognized as a medicine in 1850. Opposition to it began to gather and, by 1936, 48 states had passed laws regulating pot, fearing it could lead to addiction.

Anti-marijuana literature and films, like the infamous "Reefer Madness," helped fan those fears. Eventually, pot was classified among the most harmful of drugs, meaning it had no usefulness and a high potential for addiction.

In 1976, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must provide Robert Randall of Washington, D.C. with marijuana because of his glaucoma — no other drug could effectively combat his condition. Randall became the nation's first legal pot smoker since the drug's prohibition.

Eventually, the government created its program as part of a compromise over Randall's care in 1978, long before a single state passed a medical marijuana law. What followed were a series of petitions from people like Musikka to join the program.

President George H.W. Bush's administration, getting tough on crime and drugs, stopped accepting new patients in 1992. Many of the patients who had qualified had AIDS, and they were dying.

The AP asked the agency that administers the program, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, for documents showing how much marijuana has been sent to patients since the first patient in 1976.

The agency supplied full data for 2005-2011, which showed that during that period the federal government distributed more than 100 pounds of high-grade marijuana to patients.

Agency officials said records related to the program before 2005 had been destroyed, but were able to provide scattered records for a couple of years in the early 2000s.

The four patients remaining in the program estimate they have received a total of 584 pounds from the federal government over the years. On the street, that would be worth more than $500,000.

All of the marijuana comes from the University of Mississippi, where it is grown, harvested and stored.

Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, who directs the operation, said the marijuana was a small part of the crop the university has been growing since 1968 for all cannabis research in the U.S. Among the studies are the pharmaceutical uses for synthetic mimics of pot's psychoactive ingredient, THC.

ElSohly said the four patients are getting pot with about 3 percent THC. He said 3 percent is about the range patients have preferred in blind tests.

The marijuana is then sent from Mississippi to a tightly controlled North Carolina lab, where they are rolled into cigarettes. And every month, steel tins with white labels are sent to Florida and Iowa. Packed inside each is a half-pound of marijuana rolled into 300 perfectly-wrapped joints.

With Musikka living in Oregon, she is entitled to more legal pot than anyone in the nation because she's also enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program. Neither Iowa nor Florida has approved marijuana as a medicine, so the federal pot is the only legal access to the drug for the other three patients.

The three other people in the program range in ages and doses of marijuana provided to them, but all consider themselves an endangered species that, once extinct, can be brushed aside by a federal government that pretends they don't exist.

All four have become crusaders for the marijuana-legalization movement. They're rock stars at pro-marijuana conferences, sought-after speakers and recognizable celebrities in the movement.

Irv Rosenfeld, a financial adviser in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., has been in the program since November 1982. His condition produces painful bone tumors, but he said marijuana has replaced prescription painkillers.

Rosenfeld likes to tell this story: In the mid-1980s, the federal government asked his doctor for an update on how Rosenfeld was doing. It was an update the doctor didn't believe the government was truly interested in. He had earlier tried to get a copy of the previous update, and was told the government couldn't find it, Rosenfeld said.

So instead of filling out the form, the doctor responded with a simple sentence written in large, red letters: "It's working."

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20Sep/112

Feds are still bored….

 Oregon State Police harass Federal medical marijuana patient Elvy Musikka

examiner.com 9/15

Still nothin better to do except harass patients.....-UA

Early Thursday morning, Oregon State Police detained Elvy Musikka, one of four remaining federal medical marijuana patients, along with other state medical marijuana registry cardholders following a town hall meeting on medical marijuana in the eastern Oregon / Idaho border town of Ontario.

According to Joey Nieves, clinic manager at 45th Parallel, a medical marijuana cardholders co-operative, a state trooper had staked out the co-op to harass cardholders as they left the building.  Members of the co-op were detained by the trooper who issued citations, including a $1,000 ticket for "residue" to a grower whose patient had left behind an empty pipe.

Musikka was in town as part of the 45th Parallel's Town Hall Meeting, which took place at the Clarion Hotel earlier Wednesday evening.  (Full disclosure: this reporter was a speaker at the event.  I am also a registered Oregon cardholder and can verify that 45th Parallel vigorously checked my credentials before I was even allowed inside.  I had to give a copy of my OMMP card and Oregon ID and initial numerous statements indicating my understanding of Oregon law.)  At the hotel, an Oregon State Trooper sat parked just down the street from the public's entrance to the Clarion's parking lot, though I cannot verify (but strongly suspect) it was the same trooper.  Nieves reports Musikka was detained for over an hour in a squad car as the trooper did not believe Musikka's federal paperwork entitling her to possess and use her federally-produced medical marijuana anywhere in the United States.

 

Early Thursday morning, Oregon State Police detained Elvy Musikka, one of four remaining federal medical marijuana patients, along with other state medical marijuana registry cardholders following a town hall meeting on medical marijuana in the eastern Oregon / Idaho border town of Ontario.

According to Joey Nieves, clinic manager at 45th Parallel, a medical marijuana cardholders co-operative, a state trooper had staked out the co-op to harass cardholders as they left the building.  Members of the co-op were detained by the trooper who issued citations, including a $1,000 ticket for "residue" to a grower whose patient had left behind an empty pipe.

Musikka was in town as part of the 45th Parallel's Town Hall Meeting, which took place at the Clarion Hotel earlier Wednesday evening.  (Full disclosure: this reporter was a speaker at the event.  I am also a registered Oregon cardholder and can verify that 45th Parallel vigorously checked my credentials before I was even allowed inside.  I had to give a copy of my OMMP card and Oregon ID and initial numerous statements indicating my understanding of Oregon law.)  At the hotel, an Oregon State Trooper sat parked just down the street from the public's entrance to the Clarion's parking lot, though I cannot verify (but strongly suspect) it was the same trooper.  Nieves reports Musikka was detained for over an hour in a squad car as the trooper did not believe Musikka's federal paperwork entitling her to possess and use her federally-produced medical marijuana anywhere in the United States.

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Patients on the scene recorded the encounter on video, which has been seized by the state police.  Nieves, a former Army counter-narcotics specialist, tells NORML Stash Blog that the trooper "got much more polite" once Nieves identified himself as a former soldier, but stonewalled when Nieves pointed to the actual law allowing the grower to be in possession of that pipe.  Nieves reports that the trooper also denied requests for the video and the state police are giving him the runaround regarding the paperwork needed to recover the video.

Tomorrow (Friday Sep 16) we will have Joey Nieves (and possibly Elvy Musikka) on live as our guest(s) and taking your calls on NORML SHOW LIVE at 1pm Pacific on The NORML Network on Ustream.

UPDATE:  I just spoke with Elvy Musikka who reports that the police took her ID and her prescription and summoned her to court on October 5th.  An AP reporter was already working on a story about Elvy and in the process of getting the return of Elvy's prescription and ID, they learned that the state troopers were being ordered by the federal Department of Justice to engage in these seizures from state-legal patients.  We're working on having Elvy, as well as Mike Mullins and Jennifer Valley from Stoney Girl Gardens, major sponsors of the Town Hall Meeting, live on tomorrow's show as well.

 

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