Tag Archives: political

U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana

Tue, 01/12/2016 – 22:24 – steveelliott

EarlBlumenauer(Congressman-D-OR)[LadyBud]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President’s State of the Union speech.

"As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

Following is Rep. Blumenauer’s letter in its entirety.

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

Tonight, you will undoubtedly reflect on the last seven years. During this time, you fulfilled your promise of systematic change while dealing with the largest economic disaster the United States has seen since the Great Depression and almost unanimous Republican obstruction in Congress. Your actions jumpstarting the economy, reforming health care and Wall Street, and providing critical leadership on climate change will be felt for generations to come.

As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances.

We both know the prohibition of marijuana has not and will not work. Recent surveys find that 18 million adults used marijuana in the past month — and well over a million use it legally under state laws for medicinal purposes. Despite dire hyperbolic warnings and the threat of citation, arrest, or even prison, all evidence indicates Americans will continue to use marijuana, especially since younger Americans feel even stronger that it ought to be legal. They understand that, while not without risk, marijuana is certainly less dangerous than tobacco — which is legal in every state despite its highly addictive nature and proven deadly consequences. Indeed, if we were scheduling drugs today, tobacco would probably be classified as Schedule I and marijuana would be left off.

I suspect that both your heart and your head tell you ending prohibition is the right thing to do, especially from a civil rights and criminal justice perspective. We’ve undercut respect for the law, wasted law enforcement resources, and more important, wasted lives.

A shocking 620,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2014. No area is more stark and unfair than the treatment of African Americans — particularly young men. Research shows they are no more likely to use marijuana, yet the heavy hand of the law descends upon them with a vengeance. Depending on where they live, African Americans are two to eight times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana, according to a study by the ACLU. Unlike white middle class Americans, for young men of color — especially if poor — even a minor infraction can have devastating consequences. They can be forced from their family home if they are living in public housing, or have difficulty obtaining federal student loans to make it nearly impossible to attend college.

This is wrong.

Current federal policy declares marijuana has no medicinal value and implies it is more dangerous than methamphetamine or cocaine. I don’t believe that any member of your Administration believes this is true. Yet inaction creates another serious consequence — an inability to focus on real threats to public health. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and opioids are all far more dangerous than marijuana. In 2013 alone, over 20,000 people died of prescription drug overdoses — while there have never been any reported marijuana overdose fatalities.

This is also wrong. By telling Americans something demonstrably false, the case and credibility of drug enforcement authorities at all levels is weakened.

Not only that, federal policy has placed a stranglehold on effective marijuana research — even as evidence continues to mount about its medicinal benefits. Medical marijuana patients receive relief of pain, suppression of nausea, and the control of symptoms of neurological disorders. Recognizing this, 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have legalized medical marijuana, and 17 other states have authorized some form of medical marijuana. Removing federal barriers to research will help eliminate the guess work about both its benefits and potential problems.

For all the talk about gateway drugs, having millions of Americans relying on the black market for marijuana only opens the way for thugs to directly market to young people and those desperate to deal with depression and pain. No drug dealer checks for ID on the street corner or schoolyard. They have no license to lose and every incentive to sell other more dangerous, addictive and profitable drugs.

The vast underground network supplying millions of Americans can and should be transformed into a legal industry that is regulated and taxed. We continue to enrich Mexican drug cartels that use marijuana as one of the pillars of their financial model. We should instead be taxing and regulating marijuana to help balance the budget and fund important services. If we approach marijuana the same way as alcohol, we could take the billions of dollars we save in enforcement and additional billions that will be generated in tax revenue to deal with education, the protection of our children, and the treatment for people with addiction problems.

Mr. President, you’ve already had the most profound effect on marijuana law reform than any President in history. You’ve declined to interfere with states that have legalized adult use of marijuana and others states that allow medical marijuana, and you’ve provided breathing room for state-legal marijuana businesses.

It is time, Mr. President, for you to take the next logical step, cementing your legacy in history on drug reform and a fairer criminal justice system. Call for an end to marijuana prohibition and de-schedule marijuana. The House and Senate are reluctant to take bold action to legalize marijuana at the federal level, but you don’t have to wait. Under your leadership by de-scheduling marijuana, you will trigger monumental reform, allowing states to continue their pioneering efforts and putting pressure on Congress to take additional actions to tax and regulate. We can start by ending the lunacy of forcing legal marijuana companies to operate as cash-only. Seldom has such a small step, supported by a majority of Americans, had such potential transformational power.

Please seize the moment. We can’t wait.

The time is now. The country is ready.

In 2008, I joined with tens of thousands of Oregonians who cheered you on chanting, “Yes, we can!”

Today, I speak on behalf of millions of Americans across the country and ask you to support ending the prohibition of marijuana.

We hope you will respond, “Yes, I will.”

Earl Blumenauer
Member of Congress

– See more at: http://crrh.org/news/node/6521#sthash.TEB7vmh3.dpuf

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For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

By Quint Forgey, News21 August 19 at 6:30 AM

Image result for For some in the South, defying medical marijuana laws is the Lord’s work

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles on the legalization of marijuana, produced in partnership with the 2015 Carnegie-Knight News21 national student reporting project.

CHESTER, S.C. — She lives in the wooden house her grandfather built more than a century ago in Chester, S.C., a rural community about a two-hour drive southeast of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The cluttered home is dimly lit and not air-conditioned, with the low hum of floor fans filling in rare lulls in conversation. Two chihuahuas, Cricket and Joe, scuttle around Ada Jones’s feet as she peers down through her eyeglasses at the iPad in her hands.

The tablet looks conspicuously out of place among the black-and-white photos hanging on the walls and the dangling, beaded divider into the next room. It serves as her connection to the outside world, as well as the outside world’s connection to Jones.

If someone needs medical marijuana, they contact her over the Internet.

Jones encourages those who reach out to her to purchase marijuana illegally and make their own cannabis oil. If they’re unsuccessful, she puts them in contact with a supplier who can sell them a more refined product.

“It’s almost like playing God,” Jones said. “If somebody contacts me, I have to look at them and wonder. I wonder if that’s police first, not if I can help their kid. I try not to do that, but you have to because you’re scared.”

Jones helps everyone she can, whether they be young mothers of epileptic children or older patients suffering from chronic pain. Her specific brand of civil disobedience, like so many other facets of Southern life, is captained by her faith.

“They talk about the South being the Bible belt, and praise the Lord we are,” Jones said. “I cannot not help somebody. I have to. As a Christian, that’s what I’m here for.”

Many Southern states have a long and failed history with medical marijuana, mired deep in forgotten statutes and a lost generation of patients. Only recently, as the marijuana movement sweeps through statehouses, have those laws become political tinder for a new debate in the Old South.

CONTINUE READING….

Kentucky: CBD-Only Marijuana Oil Bill Won’t Help Patients For Years, If Ever

Submitted by steveelliott on Thu, 05/15/2014 – 17:53

CBDCannabidiol

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In the past few months, a wave of "CBD-only" marijuana oil bills has passed, particularly in more conservative states where an actual medical marijuana bill might have found it difficult going. But unfortunately, many of these hastily passed pieces of legislation were so poorly crafted as to help no patients at all for months, years, or maybe ever, and Kentucky’s new law is one of those.

Rita Wooton of Louisville’s story of her son Eli, who has frequent seizures, and the promise of CBD (cannabidiol) oil to treat it, helped convince the Kentucky General Assembly to pass the bill, reports Gregory A. Hall of the Louisville Courier-Journal. But now doctors and researchers are telling Wooton and other parents that it could take years to even begin trials treating children such as Eli with the oil.

"We’re really, really heartbroken," Wooton said. "It’s just really sad that everyone put that much time and effort and energy into it and now it’s going absolutely nowhere."

"For people like us and Eli, who have intractable epilepsy, seizures that are nearly impossible to even control or get a handle on, our hope is gone," Wooton said.

Some of the many issues surrounding implementation of the bill include the availability of CBD oil, the possible need for FDA approval, and the expense of studies, which preliminary estimates indicate could be $10,000 per patient.

But some doctors hoping to conduct the trials are still hopeful.

"I am extremely excited about it," said pediatric epilepsy specialist Dr. Karen Skjei of the University of Louisville, citing anecdotal reports of the oil reducing seizures when traditional pharmaceuticals can’t.

According to supporters, the oil can provide relief to children who have severe epilepsy. It contains low levels of THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD isn’t psychoactive and therefore doesn’t get the kids high.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville), allows "trials" of the CBD oil at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky’s medical schools or through FDA trials. But passing the bill is "just the initial part of the puzzle," according to Dr. Christopher Shafer, who specializes in adult epilepsy at the University of Louisville.

"Dr. Skjei and I want this for our patients, probably, almost as badly as the patients want it themselves," Dr. Shafer said. "And it’s really discouraging for us to not be able to tell them that we have it available. It’s going to take some time."

"While there is certainly an interest in this initiative, there are significant issues that remain to be addressed," said spokesman Jay Blanton of the University of Kentucky. "Additional research, the securing of funding and support, as well as support from the appropriate regulatory body, all would be required before a trial could be conducted.

"That process could likely take months, if not years," Blanton said.

Currently, the oil isn’t being legally manufactured in Kentucky, and shipping it across state lines violates federal law. Discussions are ongoing with one "West Coast businessman" about setting up a Kentucky dispensary, Skjei said.

"As of right now, there’s really nowhere to get it," she said.

"I feel their desperation," Shafer said of the patients, adding he wishes he could start prescribing it tomorrow. "Everybody who asks me about it, I’m keeping a list and I have a long list already."

"I still have patients that are talking about moving to Colorado, because they understand it’s going to be awhile before this is up and running," Skjei said.

What’s Up With CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it’s more popularly known, is the new darling of lawmakers in conservative states who sense the rising tide of popular support for medical marijuana — and would love to appear to be "doing something" — but lack the political courage or will to advocate for an actual medical marijuana law.

CBD is politically safe because, as a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, it doesn’t get anyone high, and better yet, it helps to quell seizures of the kind often found in pediatric epilepsy. So the combination of "helping kids" and "it doesn’t get you high" has proven an "in" for medical marijuana in what would otherwise have been quite forbidding places, such as the halls of power in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and now Kentucky.

The disquieting fact about these no-political-risk types of laws (Alabama’s passed unanimously in both chambers, amidst much self-congratulation) is that (a) they are written so narrowly as to help only a handful of children, or perhaps none at all, according to some critics; and (b) all of the dozens of cannabinoids found in marijuana work most effective in a synergistic fashion, potentiating each others’ medical benefits in what Dr. Sanjay Gupta has called the "Entourage Effect."

Additional important information of which the legislators seem to be unaware is that, as first reported on Toke Signals, it doesn’t even have to be a high-CBD strain to treat pediatric seizures without getting kids high. THC which hasn’t been decarboxylated — that is, THC acid (THCA) which hasn’t been exposed to heat — is also effective against seizures, and it isn’t psychoactive, either.

That’s important information for struggling parents who may not be able to afford the sky-high prices of CBD oil which are unfortunately occurring due to the media frenzy over cannabidiol; THC-rich strains of marijuana are much more affordable.

– See more at: http://hemp.org/news/content/kentucky-cbd-only-marijuana-oil-bill-wont-help-patients-years-if-ever#sthash.ihqsdrBt.dpuf

The Nullification Door can Swing Both Ways

By Bruce Johnson  June 24, 2013

Patrick Henry, John Calhoun, and George Mason would be delighted that States are showing some backbone after 220 years of Federal power encroachment. States are again beginning to question Federal authority by, in effect, nullifying some Federal mandates. But the "nullification door" is swinging both ways. Is it not nullification of law by the Federal Government itself when they who hold the federal reins refuse to enforce the laws currently on the books? And when no enforcement of the law is at the whim of an administration, what recourse exists for the citizenry? For the States?

Both ends of the political spectrum have engaged in nullification, the rejection of Federal law. As noted in this piece by David Leib, the current focal points of dissonance between State and Federal revolve around a strange mix of topics; healthcare, guns, illegal immigration, citizen identification, and marijuana. We can clearly identify both ends of the sociopolitical spectrum and note they have become strange bedfellows in disobeying the federal government. Coloradans thumb their nose at federal marijuana laws while Montanans do the same with federal gun laws.

Mr. Leib in his article " Federal Nullification Efforts Mounting in States", lists a few of today’ de facto nullifications:

"About 20 states now have medical marijuana laws allowing people to use pot to treat chronic pain and other ailments — despite a federal law that still criminalizes marijuana distribution and possession. Ceding ground to the states, President Barack Obama’s administration has made it known to federal prosecutors that it wasn’t worth their time to target those people…

Federal authorities have repeatedly delayed implementation of the 2005 Real ID Act… about half the state legislatures have opposed its implementation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

About 20 states have enacted measures challenging Obama’s 2010 health care laws…

After Montana passed a 2009 law declaring that federal firearms regulations don’t apply to guns made and kept in that state, eight other states have enacted similar laws…"

But the nullification door swings both ways. As States issue an affront to select federal law, the federal authorities elected and appointed seem also to have some issues themselves with federal law. Even though they have pledged via their oaths of office to enforce these laws, when it serves their political purposes we often get nonenforcement. Despite vowing diligence there is a steady record that is in effect "legislation via non action" by federal agencies and apparently done so at the direction of the Executive and Judicial branches.

In some instances the federal authorities reject any local, police, or State assistance in enforcing federal law as in the Arizona illegal immigration situation. In many marijuana cases, the federal government seems uninterested that State law conflicts with the law on the federal books. Illinois and Chicago in particular drag out a federal mandate to comply with the Second Amendment. Yet most assuredly those same federal authorities will expect local enforcement of new gun laws in Montana.

When polling place violations go unprosecuted, when sanctuary cities invite illegal immigrants and guarantee no pursuit, when immigration agents are told to ease up, and when the War Powers Act that requires the president to consult with Congress but the president only delivers mere notification… are these not de facto nullifications of law?

When States detect that they are being harmed by new federal law, it is more justifiable for them to act than those oath obligated federal office holders channeling their political wishes by choosing which laws to enforce and which to ignore.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"

As Madison noted in his Federalist Paper #45,

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.".

Article I, sect 8 of the Constitution clearly delineates that which the Federal Government "can" do, and section 10 of the same Article clearly states what the States "can’t" do. State governments preceded the "federal experiment" and it was from these 13 States the powers so delegated to the "federal experiment" originated. But now add in the Supremacy Clause noting State law can not be in conflict with Federal Law, and if such occurrence arise, Federal law will be "supreme’. More complications arise when the powers of Article I, sect 8 are deemed unbound by how activists interpret the "necessary and proper" clause. All of this sets before us a cauldron of countervailing double- entendre laden documents that often seem internal contradictory. Is it a ‘mish mash’ or a brilliant work of governance?

The Federal Papers lend guidance to the Constitution. These papers fill in the gaps and clarify instances in which the English language within the Constitution sometimes falls short. In Federalist #32 and #33, Hamilton, a devout federalist, points to a certain sovereignty status retained by the States.

32nd:

As the plan of the convention aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not, by that act, exclusively delegated to the United States.

Today’s resurgence of nullification of federal law by the States is perhaps the greatest since 1861. John C. Calhoun led a nullification movement in South Carolina in 1832 regarding the collection of federal tariffs on imports. Prior to that, there were the instances of opposition to a National Bank, New England’s opposition to the War of 1812 voiced in the Hartford Convention and also New England’s opposition to the Mexican War and their sending of troops to that effort. Thomas Jefferson himself led nullification efforts in 1798 with the Kentucky Resolution in which "the states had the right and the duty to declare unconstitutional any acts of Congress that were not authorized by the Constitution". Madison followed with the Virginia Resolution in the same spirit.

"If prudently limited and wisely directed, almost any government can be a blessing; yet unless firmly constrained, any government of whatever form will tend to augment its powers in excess, going beyond even the plainest legal limits on its just authority, and will sooner or later become dangerous." Thomas Jefferson (A Constitutional History of Secession, Graham)

Nullification has three stages. (as noted by Graham pp. 108, 109)

Interposition: This involves the identification of the grievances by the offended party (State), adopted by the legislator of that State, and noting the unconstitutional nature of the proposed act by the Federal Government or by other States as being injurious to the offended State. A demand for "appropriate redress" is included.

State Declaration of Nullification: The State will call for assemblies and authorities within the State to then empower such bodies to then craft an ordinance of nullification.

Ordinance of Secession: If the ordinance of nullification should fail to restore proper balance between the Federal Government and the State, by act of sovereign power and ordinance of secession will be adopted.

Secession is unlikely today, but the concept was unresolved in 1861. State sovereignty was a more justifiable position. Virginia, Rhode Island, and New York all ratified the Constitution with the proviso that if they became harmed by the "federal experiment", they retained the powers to withdraw. To extrapolate, and because these ratifications were unconditionally accepted at the convention in which all States were equal partners, these rights to ‘withdraw’ radiated to all the States ratifying at that time.

State resistance to harmful federal legislation is an important component to our federal system. Nullification must be promoted cautiously but once committed, States must hold firm even if it draws an extortion such as the withholding of Federal highway funds. Turnabout is fair play, and as an administration selectively ignores passed law, States gain traction in challenging new Federal law. Principle must trump financial consideration and the promise that is our form of government must not be whittled away.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/06/the_nullification_door_can_swing_both_ways.html#ixzz2XB1xZEFz

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