Medical-Marijuana Advocacy Group Sees Loophole
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Medical-Marijuana Advocacy Group Sees Loophole
Posted by CN Staff on July 07, 2011 at 08:45:10 PT
By W. Zachary Malinowski, Journal Staff Writer
Source: Providence Journal
Providence, R.I. -- The head of the state’s largest medical-marijuana advocacy group remains optimistic that someday, in the not too distant future, a cannabis dispensary will open its doors to licensed patients suffering from myriad illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma and chronic pain.JoAnne Lepannen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, said on Tuesday that she has carefully reviewed the two-page memo that the Justice Department issued last week, “Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use.”
In it, she sees a silver lining because there is no specific threat by federal authorities to prosecute state employees who have anything to do with the licensing or oversight of marijuana dispensaries.“I think there is a ray of hope here,” Lepannen said. “We have to read into this letter what [the government] didn’t say. That speaks volumes.”The memo does warn that those who “facilitate” large-scale medical-marijuana production are violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. Rhode Island is one of 16 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the medical use of marijuana. In March, after more than two years of review and public hearings, the state Health Department went one step further. It selected three dispensary organizations to cultivate and sell marijuana to patients in the state program.A month later, Peter F. Neronha, the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, delivered a letter to Governor Chafee warning him that those involved with the dispensaries could be subject to criminal and civil prosecution if they engaged in large-scale marijuana-cultivation and distribution. Chafee immediately placed the dispensary program on hold, saying that he was fearful that the Justice Department would raid the facilities and possibly prosecute state employees affiliated with the program.Chafee’s fear was based on a recent development in Washington state. There, U.S. Attorneys Mike Ormsby and Jenny Durkan said that state employees involved in the licensing or regulation of medical marijuana could be subject to arrest or prosecution. As a result, Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed key pieces of the medical-marijuana law, saying she didn’t want to place state employees at risk. Snipped  Complete Article: Providence Journal, The (RI)Author:  W. Zachary Malinowski, Journal Staff Writer Published:  July 7, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Providence Journal CompanyContact: letters projo.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on July 08, 2011 at 14:47:08 PT
I guess I never thought you were referring to Paul A. but Ron Paul. You are a good person. Have a great weekend. 
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Comment #13 posted by Hope on July 08, 2011 at 14:31:16 PT
We, all of us C-Newsers, I think, are people of great conscience, societal, political, and otherwise. That's what got us here in the first place.These things and worrying about a perceived slight bother us all, probably more than they do more blase people.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on July 08, 2011 at 14:28:25 PT
I realized you'd misread it. I started to say Mr. Armentano myself, to avoid that confusion. It's easy to make the mistake.I have the greatest respect for Paul... Mr. Armentano. It feels like he's part of this particular band of brothers and sisters, within the greater group, that we are, so it seems like I should easily call him by his first name after all this time and conversation... and with certainly no lack of respect.He does seem like a good friend, one of us, a trusted fellow, because he's gone out of his way all these years to keep the bunch here at C-News all up with what's happening with him and with Norml. He's a sweetheart, and a powerful voice for a great cause, and I appreciate him, as I know you do, too, Dongenero. I also like Ron Paul, although I don't agree with all his politics. I've written his office and gotten good, seemingly, well thought out replies in return to my correspondence. 
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Comment #11 posted by dongenero on July 08, 2011 at 12:12:31 PT
I need to clarify my misunderstanding....
of a few days ago....for the respected CNews community. Sometimes postings and blogs can be misinterpreted, which I did.Several days ago I responded to a runruff post about "Paul", with a response of "and a hand for Barney Frank".My initial thought was that runruff was referring to Ron Paul. I was thinking Frank-Paul bill.I still feel bad that my comment may have appeared as a slight against Paul Armentano. It was my misunderstanding that I should have stated immediately. Paul Armentano is a fantastic and tireless leader for the cause!While appreciate Ron Paul speaking in support and now co-sponsoring a very important bill. I think he mostly provided lip service in the past, and (off-topic) has other policy ideas that are way off-kilter.For Paul Armentano, on the other hand, I have nothing but the utmost respect.... and kudos to you Paul. Thank you.heh...if my comment was not viewed as such.....nevermind.
Have a nice weekend all. Go 2306!
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on July 08, 2011 at 09:20:43 PT
Comment 1, 2, and 3
Yes, CropReport, Paul Armentano is a very good writer. He has a way of pulling the truth out of the mud and confusion and making it very clear and bright. He lights it up. I'm very thankful for him and all he's done.I agree with Runruff. Huzzah, Paul! Huzza! Very, very good work, indeed. Excellent. Clear as a clear day.And look at the comments to Paul's column. I'm so impressed at all the people speaking up these days. It's wonderful. The real, and what has been truly terrible and deadly injustice of cannabis prohibition is going to come to an end, in part, because of the clear, relentless, and hearty servings of pure truth that Paul has been dishing out to the public for many years now.
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Comment #9 posted by John Tyler on July 08, 2011 at 07:37:09 PT
Comment #1 re Bill Bennett
I have always found it ironic to the point of hypocrisy that Bill Bennett and the other conservatives, etc. are so against gov. rules and regs that interfere with personal freedom, but yet are against the personal freedom of cannabis use. One can have access to as much alcohol, tobacco, and fire arms as one can buy (each one having its own set of dangers), but yet no one can have access to a plant that causes no harm, because it is too dangerous. It makes no sense. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 08, 2011 at 05:49:18 PT
Sure I'll do that.
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Comment #7 posted by runruff on July 08, 2011 at 05:44:40 PT
Hi FoM and Mr. Stick!
FoM, Dear Heart, would you please e-mail me your mailing address and save me having to search through my correspondence files?Thank you very much!Runruff has left the building, folks!
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on July 07, 2011 at 20:34:16 PT
Awesome Paul - op/ed comment #1
May a copy end up on the desk of each and every member of the House and Senate.
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on July 07, 2011 at 20:26:18 PT
Spiteful tyrants wouldn't want to miss a chance to inflict draconian, capricious punishment and confinement on an American icon, over a bag of flowers.Is the country realizing how ridiculous all of this is?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 07, 2011 at 19:30:27 PT
News About Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson's Weed-Related Plea Deal Rejected by a Texas JudgeJuly 6, 2011So, about Willie Nelson and that plea agreement he thought he had in Texas: A judge on Wednesday isn't playing ball, saying the country singer shouldn't get what she sees as special treatment regarding his marijuana-related arrest in El Paso last November.Talk about bumming that high. Prosecutors had agreed June 8 to reduce charges against Nelson, 78, and allow him to stay out of jail if he paid a $500 fine and $280 in court costs, with the judge expected to clear his record if he stayed out of trouble for 30 days. The singer -- who was arrested after officers at a checkpoint smelled pot smoke on his tour bus and reported finding six ounces of weed onboard -- would plead no contest to possession of drug paraphernalia.URL:
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on July 07, 2011 at 16:11:17 PT
Huzzah, Paul!
Bill Bennet is the spark that got me excited about ending prohibition. I heard him say, "Marijuana is dangerous, marijuana is illegal, end of discussion!"There is nothing like a slovenly trough sucker, to tell me what is good for me and to set policy that sends people to cages and takes their posessions to feed itself in a self purpetuating war on the people, to get me honkin' mad!I've been a fighter and campaigner ever since, over 20 years!
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Comment #2 posted by CropReport on July 07, 2011 at 14:34:42 PT
Man He's Good :)
Nice one Paul!
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Comment #1 posted by paul armentano on July 07, 2011 at 13:42:34 PT
My op/ed on states enact their own marijuana policies
By Paul Armentano, Special to CNN
July 6, 2011 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)Editor's note: Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML , the 
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and is the 
co-author of the book "Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People 
to Drink?" (2009, Chelsea Green).(CNN) -- It is hardly surprising that former drug czar William Bennett 
would, in his op-ed, oppose any changes to America's 
criminalization of marijuana. But it is surprising that he would lump 
Barney Frank and Ron Paul's proposal to allow states the opportunity to 
enact their own marijuana policy with the effort to legalize drugs.Let's be clear: HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act 
of 2011, proposed by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, does not 
"legalize drugs" or even so much as legalize marijuana. Rather, this 
legislation removes the power to prosecute minor marijuana offenders 
 from the federal government and relinquishes this authority to state 
and local jurisdictions. In other words, HR 2306 is just the sort of 
rebuke to the "nanny state" that conservatives like Bennett otherwise 
Barney Frank and Ron Paul: Get feds out of pot regulationThe House bill mimics changes enacted by Congress to repeal the federal 
prohibition of alcohol. Passage of this measure would remove the 
existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those 16 states 
that already allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physician's 
supervision.It would also permit states that wish to fully legalize (for adults) 
and regulate the responsible use, possession, production and intrastate 
distribution of marijuana to be free to do so without federal 
interference. In recent years, several states, including California and 
Massachusetts, have considered taking such actions either legislatively 
or by ballot initiative. It is likely that several additional states 
will be considering this option in 2012, including Colorado and 
Washington. The residents and lawmakers of these states should be free 
to explore these alternate policies, including medicalization, 
decriminalization and legalization, without running afoul of the 
federal law or the whims of the Department of Justice.Of course, just as many states continued to criminalize the sale and 
consumption of alcohol after the federal government's lifting of 
alcohol prohibition, many states, if not most, might continue to 
maintain criminal sanctions on the use of marijuana.But there is no justification for the federal government to compel them 
to do so. Just as state and local governments are free to enact their 
own policies about the sale and use of alcohol -- a mind-altering, 
potentially toxic substance that harms the user more than marijuana -- 
they should be free to adopt marijuana policies that best reflect the 
wishes and mores of their citizens. Does Bill Bennett believe that 
state and local governments cannot be trusted with making such 
decisions on their own?Speaking during an online town hall in January, President Obama 
acknowledged the subject of legalizing and regulating marijuana was a 
"legitimate topic for debate," even as he expressed his opposition. Yet 
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, 
recently boasted that he would not even consider scheduling HR 2306 for 
a public hearing.There might be another reason people like Smith and Bennett will go to 
such lengths to try to stifle public discussion of the matter. To do so 
would be to shine light on the fact that the federal criminalization of 
marijuana has failed to reduce the public's demand for cannabis, and it 
has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people.Further, this policy promotes disrespect for the law and reinforces 
ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement. 
Annual data published in the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, and compiled 
by NORML, finds that police have made more than 20 million arrests for 
marijuana violations since 1970, nearly 90% of them for marijuana 
possession offenses only.It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to 
unregulated, criminal entrepreneurs and allow states the authority to 
enact common sense regulations that seek to govern the adult use of 
marijuana in a fashion similar to alcohol.In Bennett's own words, "We have an illegal drug abuse epidemic in this 
country." How is such a conclusion anything but a scathing indictment 
of the present policy? After 70 years of failure it is time for an 
alternative approach. The "Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 
2011" is an ideal first step.The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul 
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