Confusion Reigns Over MMJ as States and Feds Clash
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Confusion Reigns Over MMJ as States and Feds Clash
Posted by CN Staff on December 13, 2011 at 10:57:09 PT
By Daniel B. Wood, Staff Writer 
Source: Christian Science Monitor
Los Angeles, CA -- A "giant mess" is how Los Angeles City Councilman Jos Huizar sees the conundrum over the expansion of medical marijuana, which is seen across the city in the growing number of patients with prescriptions, dispensaries popping up faster than Starbucks shops, and neighborhood complaints about rising crime and traffic.The root of the "mess"? The challenge of carrying out the will of Californians, who in 1996 voted to decriminalize marijuana sales and possession for medicinal use, even as the federal government still deems marijuana, "medical" or not, to be an illegal drug, he says.
Such is the case in 15 other states that allow medical marijuana, leaving their local governments to sort out for themselves whether to encourage an above-board marijuana industry, as Oakland, Calif., has done, to fight it tooth and nail on grounds it's illegal under federal law, or to otherwise regulate it. Whatever they decide, it carries the risk of being in trouble with either state officials or federal authorities.It's been a wild ride for L.A. Two years ago, the city council voted to allow dispensaries and then watched them proliferate to more than 800. As neighborhood residents complained about perceived jumps in crime, the council last year moved to restrict the outlets. Now it's not clear if the city even has that authority: A federal judge ruled in November (in a case from neighboring Long Beach) that marijuana is a drug subject to federal, not local, regulation.California's law, says Mr. Huizar, "doesn't allow for local governments to regulate the ill effects of having marijuana so easily available. We've been trying to establish a balance between those who need it legally for medical reasons, and yet not be too easy for others who just want it to get high."In the 15 years since California became the first state to adopt a medical marijuana law, the nation's general drift has been toward greater tolerance of marijuana use. Under President Obama, the Justice Department steered US prosecutors away from charging "individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana"  though many say that no longer is the case.Some say that Obama policy contributed to the current confusion, with the Feds missing in action as a patchwork of state laws and local rules sprang up around medical marijuana  much as has happened with illegal immigration. Lately, the Justice Department has moved to clamp down on marijuana dispensaries and growers, especially in California, citing large-scale criminal activity. Since October, for instance, federal agents have closed almost two-thirds of the 222 medical marijuana outlets in San Diego.Mr. Obama "made it sound like he was going to take a different tack than his predecessor  that they are not going to go after patients but only large collectives," says Robert Mikos, a law professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. "The simplified media sound bites made it look like they weren't going to enforce the ban, and when they did, marijuana advocates overdramatized it."Most recently, the governors of three medical marijuana states  Washington, Rhode Island, and Vermont  petitioned the US government to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, claiming the reclassification is needed so their states can regulate its safe distribution without risking federal prosecution.Attorney General Eric Holder sought to clarify the US position during Dec. 8 testimony on Capitol Hill. But his carefully measured words may not have drawn the bright line that either backers or opponents of medical marijuana had hoped for. "Given the limited resources that we have, and if there are states that have medical marijuana provisions ... if in fact people are not using the policy decision that we have made to use marijuana in a way that's not consistent with the state statute, we will not use our limited resources in that way," Mr. Holder said.Competing federal and state interests lie behind the emerging pot wars. Washington is concerned about international trafficking and relations with drug-producing countries, and states are responsive to constituencies who see benefits in medical marijuana, analysts say."Given that there is no clear, definitive set of policies at state, local, and national levels, politicians are picking and choosing whatever suits their local political and economic situations," says Matthew Hale, a political scientist at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J.To Marta Irvington, the Feds' apparently reinvigorated stance against medical marijuana is disconcerting."This is 'Reefer Madness' all over again, edition 2011," says the single mom, referring to the 1936 hysteria film (and unintended cult hit of the subsequent hippie generation) that asserted cannabis use would lead children to lives of violence and disorientation resulting in rape, insanity, and suicide. "I'm legal, I've got a doctor's prescription, and yet I feel I have to slink around in the shadows because some federal narc is going to nab me ... or shut this place down," says Ms. Irvington, standing outside a dispensary in Sherman Oaks, Calif., after buying an ounce of marijuana to relieve back pain.At least 70 percent of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, polls show. The 16 states that now allow it account for roughly one-third of the US populace, and it is now available in more than 1,000 dispensaries.Still, use or cultivation of the plant is strictly illegal under federal law  and courts have ruled that US law supersedes state law on this issue.The crackdown has been multipronged, aimed at dispensaries and landlords who rent them retail space. In a New York Times op-ed on Nov. 6, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance complained, moreover, that the Treasury Department has forced banks to close accounts of medical marijuana businesses operating legally under state law. He urged Obama to "reassert" his original hands-off policy for those in compliance with state laws.Some see politics as a motive for the crackdown, noting Obama will not want to run for reelection in 2012 as a full-fledged marijuana industry explodes on his watch. Others suggest that the pot industry may have overreached: Federal agents became concerned about industrial-scale cultivation and distribution operations that would attract criminal gangs and, possibly, terrorist networks, they say.Still others say the horse is out of the barn  and probably can't be put back."Federal raids and prosecutions might convince some dispensary operators to close," says Alex Kreit at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. "But many more [dispensaries] are willing to continue operating and take the legal risk, particularly those that are run by true believers."Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)Author: Daniel B. Wood, Staff Writer Published: December 13, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Christian Science Publishing SocietyContact: letters csmonitor.comWebsite: URL: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by Oleg the Tumor on December 14, 2011 at 15:01:30 PT:
What Americans Want.
We all know the Hemp industry was destroyed purposefully to serve the corporate interests of the few.We know the Superplant has yet undeveloped potential.We all know that Americans need a growing industry to provide jobs and products of value.WE WANT THE FULL RESTORATION OF THE HEMP INDUSTRY!LEGALIZE FREEDOM!
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on December 14, 2011 at 12:36:02 PT
Fed's don't want you to have one good day.
My Mother-in-Laws One High Day"WHEN my mother-in-law was in the final, harrowing throes of pancreatic cancer, she had only one good day, and that was the day she smoked pot. Cont.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on December 14, 2011 at 08:12:39 PT
Nora Volkow
Marijuana remains the most popular drug among teens. Marijuana use increased for the fourth year in a row after a decade of decline. Nearly 7% of high school seniors report smoking marijuana daily, the survey found.
"It's the highest rate we've seen in 30 years, so something is going on," Johnston said. He added that growing numbers of teens don't see marijuana as dangerous.
"That's a very bad indicator," said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Either we do something to change that, or we will continue to see increases."
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office on National Drug Policy, said state legalization of marijuana for medical use is influencing teens.
"We're sending young people the wrong message when we call it medicine," he said.
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on December 13, 2011 at 13:33:08 PT
There's a mess alright.....
...and it's a mess completely of the governments' making.They attack medical marijuana, while citing it's use and efficacy on say it has no medical use while growing it and shipping it to a select few for medical use under a Federal program.They say it has no medical use while holding US patents on the medical use.They say it has no medical use while ignoring over 2,000 studies that say otherwise...while also making such studies as difficult as possible to even undertake.They say it has no medical use while ignoring support for it from the American Medical Association, the College of Physicians, The Institute of Medicine and the Association of Nurses.The Constitution in no realistic way supports such a prohibition for Americans. History shows the basis of Prohibition for what it is. Based in racial discrimination. Based in corporate cronyism. Based in power mongering. Based in lack of respect for the Constitution. Based in lack of respect for American citizens. Prohibition is based in ignorance. One thing cannabis Prohibition is not based in, truth.Legalize it!
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on December 13, 2011 at 11:53:04 PT
About RAND and why they 'withdrew' their study:
Cuban-born journalist and author Alex Abella was allowed exclusive access inside the RAND Corporation to view their archives. What he discovered was a plot driven by mad scientists, behaviorists, and generals who were intent on starting world war three and fleecing the American people in the process.Once he was a skeptic on the subject of conspiracy theories and the new world order, but after his work with the RAND Corporation he is now convinced that this top secret think tank has been pulling the strings of American government for at least 60 years.gWefre all the bastard children of RAND and we donft even know it,h remarks Abella, as he charts how RAND started off as an organization centered around building new weapons for the military but ultimately expanded into politics, science, history and economics and was closely allied with the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations.RANDfs decision in the 50s to re-model the globe towards a new world order changed everything, with the development of grational choice theory,h which turned people from being citizens into consumers, as rights and responsibilities were replaced with choices and peoplefs lives slowly came to be dominated not by integrity or what they stood for, but by what they spent their money on.
RANDfs ultimate goal was to have technocrats running every aspect of society in pursuit of a one world government that would be administered under gthe rule of reason,h a ruthless world where efficiency was king and men were little more than machines, which is why RAND studied the social sciences because they were at a loss to work out how to deal with people and how human beings did not always act in their own predictable self-interests.There is no place for love, empathy or selflessness in the new world order that RAND and the Ford Foundation are working to create, and patriotism and altruism are adversarial to their aims.
Abella explains how RAND was instrumental in developing the strategy behind the use of nuclear weapons, and how they actively promoting nuking the entirety of Eastern Europe as well as China in case of problems in Western Europe, a policy that could easily have sparked off a catastrophic nuclear holocaust. RAND researchers believed that as long as 10 million Americans survived a nuclear war, the war was won.
Abella notes how RAND saw the United Nations as a template for one world government but that a new organization controlled by the U.S. would eventually supersede the UN and become the de facto world government, which is why RAND researchers such as John Williams advocated pre-emptive nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union, to make sure the United States would be the only country with the supreme power to impose its will on the rest of the world.
Speaking on the topic of false flag attacks, Abella notes that the staged Gulf of Tonkin attack and the planned Operation Northwoods false flag were both initially proposed in RAND documents, highlighting the total immorality with which RAND war games its scenarios, many of which are ethically repugnant in that they nonchalantly promote the genocide of entire populations with little regard for the consequences.Abella explains how RAND truly is a shadow government because it serves as a revolving door between the two, and how RAND is the cradle of the military-industrial complex and the birthplace of the technocratic elite that we are now fighting against.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on December 13, 2011 at 11:34:05 PT
End the mess.
End the mess by legalizing and regulation the superplant or waiting till voters do it in 2012. Then the mess will be reduced to what coffee, beer or wine causes. Wine, coffee and beer production and sales doesn't create a mess.What causes the mess associated with cannabis?-0-The Christian Science Monitor is neither.
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on December 13, 2011 at 11:32:57 PT
Thomas Jefferson, during the founding period:
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny!"
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on December 13, 2011 at 11:24:32 PT
Dr. Benjamin Rush in 1787:
Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of (people) and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.
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Comment #1 posted by HempWorld on December 13, 2011 at 11:08:04 PT
Nice propaganda piece from the Christian 'Science'
Monitor. This is another front organization directed by powerful interests. If these people would commit themselves to real science, they would find out that cannabis cures most types of cancer and that dispensaries reduce crime in a neighborhood (see Rand report).However, truth and science are thrown by the wayside and now we have this propaganda piece telling us the opposite.This is a heavy-handed approach to incapacitate and close all marijuana outlets, because if we can't do it legally or by consensus we will use force and our weapons!
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