Feds Should Stop Fighting Medical Marijuana
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Feds Should Stop Fighting Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 15, 2013 at 10:49:29 PT
The Harford Courant Editorial
Source: Hartford Courant
Connecticut -- To all appearances, Connecticut is well on the way to making medical marijuana available to people who are suffering from certain serious illnesses. Regulations have been drafted and will be voted on by a legislative committee next month. Physicians have thus far certified 660 patients as eligible for the palliative substance. Proposals for production facilities have surfaced in Watertown and Middletown, with others on the way.But there remains one nagging, unresolved issue: It is still a federal crime to use, cultivate, dispense or possess marijuana. Indeed, since 2009 the Justice Department has conducted more than 170 aggressive raids in inie medical marijuana states, according to the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.
Connecticut officials think they have crafted a strict, tightly regulated law that will not draw the attention of federal authorities. We hope they are right. The better option is to end the disconnect between state and federal laws, so people with cancer, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and other ailments can, if they choose, use marijuana to gain some measure of relief.ObamaIn 2008 candidate Barack Obama said that medical marijuana would not be a priority target of Justice Department resources. Well, not so fast. The department's policy on the subject was outlined in a couple of memos, most recently the 2011 "Cole Memo," from Deputy U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole to U.S. attorneys around the country.Mr. Cole said it is "likely not an efficient use of federal resources" to focus enforcement on sick people or their caregivers, but reminded the federal prosecutors that persons "who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law ... such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution."The plain meaning is that federal law enforcement officers can  and in an increasing number of cases have  gone after medical marijuana growers.ScaleJustice Department spokeswoman Allison Price said via email last week that the department's focus is "on making sure that people aren't using the pretext of medical marijuana to do large-scale interstate drug dealing."She suggests the feds are looking at larger operations that aren't well monitored. This should work in Connecticut's favor. The state's statute, passed last year, envisions a small, tightly controlled system. There will be no more than 10 secure production facilities (Colorado has more than 1,000 farms), and a limited but as yet undetermined number of dispensaries, each run by a licensed pharmacist. Marijuana will be treated like other controlled pharmaceuticals."Connecticut has done everything it can to insulate itself from federal intervention," said Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein, whose department administers the program. He said in drafting the regulations, his people studied the experience in some (lightly regulated) Western states, and opted for a closely controlled system that would prevent theft and diversion and focus on sick people.But for the federal law, major pharmaceutical companies, who know how to make safe drugs at competitive prices, might be in the game.However ...In the vast and complex world of law there are many situations where state and federal laws disagree. The state and federal minimum wages are different, for example. We can live with most of these discrepancies, but not the disconnect on medical marijuana; it causes too many problems.For example, the Colorado Court of Appeals in April upheld the firing of a quadriplegic man, Brandon Coates, for off-the-job medical-marijuana use, concluding that, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, employees have no protection to use it. Mr. Coates uses marijuana to control muscle spasms.At present, 19 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to help people such as Mr. Coates. We urge Congress and the president to let them, by passing a law like Connecticut's.Source: Hartford Courant (CT)Published: July 15, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Hartford CourantContact: letters courant.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Swazi-X on July 16, 2013 at 16:40:21 PT
Doubles Penalty From What?
Thanks for the clarification - I didn't know the feds had that on the books. I'm glad to see they're not quite as blatant about breaking laws as I had thought.It's a dishonest shell game they're using on us even so - you think if you're a mile from any "double penalty" zones you can safely set up a state-legal dispensary? Good luck with that. Nothing will protect a dispensary if the feds get a boner for you - if you're not in that double-penalty-zone they merely remind us it's all illegal under federal law, then they persecute you just as vehemently. That's only when they feel like giving any reason - mostly they just show up, kick in doors and rob the place then leave. Lots of times without any charges. I'm no lawyer but that is clearly not due process.The real trigger for federal prosecution is the amount of profit a dispensary makes, the support of local morons wanting to keep the Devil Weed out of their burgs, or a mouthy dispensary owner on TV. They won't allow anyone to amass enough money to be able to play in their personal playground - our legal system - with the intent on changing the status-quo and the advantage they enjoy because of it.D.E.A. says the Dept. of Health and Human Services told them that weed is bad and should stay in Sched. I in the CSA. Funny thing about that though - HHS is the arm of our government that holds the federal patent for cannabinoids as anti-oxidant and neuro-protectants. They disingenuously avoid admitting cannabis has these properties by having used synthetic cannabinoids for their studies. That way they can say cannabis isn't medically beneficial, even though the same components synthetically produced are, and so cannabis should remain classified as being more dangerous than heroin or methamphetamine.These are some of the games they play with our lives, all because to do the right thing would hurt profits.
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on July 15, 2013 at 20:49:35 PT
Swazi-X #3
FEDERAL Penalties - - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws
Distribution of greater than 5 grams of marijuana to a minor under the age of 21 doubles the possible penalties. Distribution within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, public housing or within 100 feet of a youth center, public pool or video arcade also doubles the possible penalties.The sale of paraphernalia is punishable by up to three years in prison.
}Finding when these provisions were added is difficult due to the ridiculous practice of patchwork amendments to existing drug laws. Based on limited research into the source and educated guesswork, the 1,000 feet of a school rule *may* date to Reagan / Bush 1. Paraphernalia law *may* date to Clinton.Suffice it to say, avoid a federal case. The penalties are onerous.To paraphrase Quax Mercy: 
Clear the lies of Prohibition and then write policies based on science and freedom.
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Comment #3 posted by Swazi-X on July 15, 2013 at 15:46:45 PT
No Protection
The states can pass any laws they want concerning cannabis, hoping to not "draw the attention of federal authorities" but the actions of the feds clearly show complete disregard for states' rights on this issue.Sometimes they will offer the excuse that they raided and destroyed a dispensary because it was "within 1000 ft. of a school".The problem is that proximity to schools, etc. is state law or at least local ordinance, and as such is not enforceable via federal agents. Feds cannot enforce state law - neither can state agents enforce federal law.The argument that all cannabis is illegal under federal law but then they selectively go after dispensary X because it's "within 1000ft. of a school" is an admission of criminal actions by the feds themselves, since the law they're supposedly enforcing is a state/local one.The real deal is that the only way to change anything in our Plutocracy is via obscene amounts of money. The federal jackals go after the biggest dispensaries (Harborside) and such (Marc Emery) because these have the potential to amass the kind of money that could actually buy some Congressmen and lobbyists able to effect actual change in this area.
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Comment #2 posted by Quax Mercy on July 15, 2013 at 14:29:59 PT:
Fed Obstructors
The states are jumping thru all these hoops, trying to be mindful of overzealous federal prosecutors - when these considerations are themselves bogus. We need to clear the field of the lies that the feds have perpetrated over 70 years of Prohibition, and THEN write the clearly delineated policies & guidelines based on the scientific realities, rather than the moralistic distortions that have held sway for far too long.
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on July 15, 2013 at 12:24:01 PT
not legal
sick people in Connecticut still can't plant a seed
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