Activists See D.C. Win as Opportunity for Dialogue
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Activists See D.C. Win as Opportunity for Dialogue
Posted by CN Staff on April 03, 2016 at 19:13:34 PT
By Ryan M. McDermott, The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times
Washington, D.C. -- The local activists who helped legalize marijuana possession in the District were on the trail of bigger game Saturday, lighting up in front of the White House to protest the way federal laws classify the drug.“This is about needless incarceration,” Dave Anderson said as he walked along a 51-foot inflatable joint that protesters planned to march from 15th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the gates outside of the north lawn of the White House. “We’ve got local momentum in D.C., so this is an opportunity for a dialogue.”
D.C. voters approved the legalization of marijuana in November 2014, and the law became effective in February 2015. It allows residents to possess and grow small amounts of pot, but it bans the sale, distribution and public consumption of the weed. The law does not apply to federally owned land, including federal parks.The legalization ballot measure, which was approved by 70 percent of voters, was spearheaded by DCMJ, a local organization formed in 2013 to advocate for cannabis users in the District.And on Saturday, that same group rallied a couple of hundred activists to break the law and consume marijuana on the federally-owned land in front of the White House as a way to get their message out nationally.Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which the Drug Enforcement Administration defines as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Heroin, LSD and Ecstasy are also classified as Schedule 1 drugs.But DCMJ thinks marijuana has to be either reclassified or simply taken off the list of most dangerous prohibited drugs.“While we have been able to drastically reduce arrests for marijuana possession in the District of Columbia, millions of Americans across the United States are not so lucky,” the group wrote on its website. “As long as cannabis is treated in the same category of drugs as heroin, with no accepted medical use, police will continue to arrest and lock up our brothers and sisters.”The civil disobedience was widely publicized on social media and brought in dozens of protesters from across the country, many with highly personal stories of their experience with pot.Ricardo Rivera drove down from New Jersey to raise awareness for children with illnesses who can benefit from monitored cannabis use. Mr. Rivera’s daughter suffers from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a rare and serious form of epilepsy, and said cannabis has decreased her seizures by 95 percent.“We could get her seizure-free if I had easier access to it,” he said.For now, Mr. Rivera must get the cannabis himself, break it down and turn it into an oil to treat his daughter.Mr. Rivera isn’t alone in calling for legalized marijuana treatments. The Epilepsy Foundation of America, a national nonprofit advocating on behalf of epilepsy patients, has also come out in favor of access to cannabis for seizure sufferers.And the American Academy of Pediatrics last week formally endorsed reclassifying marijuana so it could be more easily researched for medical use.For protester Valencia Mohammed, the issue is those sent to jail for small amounts of marijuana.“He came back angry,” Ms. Mohammed said of her son Imtiaz Mohammed, who was sent to Oak Hill Youth Center for six months for possessing a small amount of the drug back in the 90s when he was a teenager. “The judge made it seem like he was in the Medellin cartel.”Ms. Mohammed said that time would have been better spent in her care rather than in jail, which she said irrevocably toughened him. In 2005, Imtiaz Mohammed was gunned down in D.C.’s Brightwood neighborhood in Northwest.And for other, legal marijuana is simply the most effective way to help them relax.“It’s a stress and pain relief,” Sean Hyson, a Capitol Hill resident said at the protest. “I come home, smoke a joint and I’m great.”“Compared to alcohol and tobacco, well, they’re known to kill a lot more people than marijuana,” he said.There was no noticeable counterprotest Saturday, and several of the tourists rubbernecking as they made their way to monuments and restaurants voiced their support for the group’s cause.“It’s long overdue,” said Mike Martin, who traveled from Illinois to visit the District but was not part of the protest. “There are too many people in prison for it.”Mr. Martin said he doesn’t smoke marijuana, but doesn’t see a reason why people should be punished for it.And while protesters who decided to smoke were ready to be arrested, Secret Service police, who patrol the areas outside the White House, remained calm. No one was arrested and only a few $25 public consumption citations were handed out by District police.Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Ryan M. McDermott, The Washington TimesPublished: Sunday, April 3, 2016Copyright: 2016 News World Communications, Inc. Website: letters washingtontimes.comURL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Paint with light on April 06, 2016 at 11:31:55 PT
OT Will we finally get rescheduling?
This got posted last night. is a link to the DEA response. haven't made it through all the 35 pages of the response but will later today.Looks interesting.More legal than alcohol.
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Comment #4 posted by The GCW on April 06, 2016 at 05:35:03 PT
Would you support a proposed ballot initiative to limit the THC potency of recreational marijuana sold in Colorado?YESNO (67%)
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on April 05, 2016 at 14:47:57 PT
Obama partly responsible for increased addiction.
About the possibility that Prez Obama should or could RE-classify cannabis from a Schedule I substance is relevant here.Exactly what is occurring, is the feds are hanging onto the notion / MYTH that heroin is no worse than cannabis.All while the nation is experiencing an epidemic of opioid addictions and death rates.Obama, IS the federal government!By not reclassifying cannabis, He is standing behind that dangerous and harmful myth.By not changing cannabis' classification away from Schedule I, Obama is partly responsible for the rise in hard drug addiction rates.!!!It is pathetic that Obama, who knows better, allows Himself to stand behind the myth that cannabis is a Schedule I substance alongside heroin while meth and cocaine are only Schedule II substances.There is NO question, Obama knows better. NO question He could correct that problem. NO question He then is partly to blame for the increased drug addiction rates and increased death rates, which have reached an epidemic proportion.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on April 04, 2016 at 09:43:35 PT
anyone else watch the recent Frontline on Saudi Arabia ("Uncovered")??In Saudi Arabia, music is banned. Anyone playing or listening to music in a public space gets a beating and jail time.I couldn't help but think this country is just like us. No surprise we're such close allies than former Sec. of State James Baker was watching TV with the Bin Laden family when 9/11 happened.They ban music - we have forbidden flowers! You must not touch the flower of the cannabis plant or poppy plant! We live in a fundamentalist police state just like the Arabs.A woman activist in Saudi got thrown in jail for 65 days for driving a car across the border from UAB.  "medical marijuana" (flower) activists here get thrown in jail and their children taken for their political activism.
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Comment #1 posted by Oleg the Tumor on April 04, 2016 at 09:06:31 PT
Dear President Obama
On behalf of myself many others with serious health issues, I am requesting a pardon - not dissimilar from the ones that you have recently granted those non-violent drug offenders.But why pardon them yet leave the process intact that made the pardon necessary? Do you like reading newspapers with articles cut out to shield you from the reality regarding the ongoing Federal law regarding Cannabis? One of those articles could have been about you, and you know it. It took the death of Trevor Martin for you to publicly acknowledge this.I just can't understand how you could have used marijuana when you were young, understood that it was illegal because of special interests all along, and worked all the way to The Presidency, yet now you are willing to walk away from this issue without addressing it? In 2012,your response to our petition to legalize cannabis was: "Inappropriate". Earlier this year, you indicated that 2016 would not be the year either. Think of the next poor bastard who becomes President. You could remove a great burden from that person's shoulders while doing your own legacy a lot of good by doing something for the people (instead of for the corporations) by removing the foolish opposition at the federal level by executive order to allow marijuana businesses access to banking and tax deductions that every other business gets.There are lots and lots of jobs to be provided by this plant, and whoever taps this cornucopia first will cause all the rest to chase after them to market.And so I am inclined to ask for a pardon for all of us:
for the founding fathers who saw enough value in hemp to write their Declaration of Independence on paper made from it; for the people of the State of Kentucky, who were asked to provide hemp for the U.S. Navy, and did so faithfully for well over 150 years. That the rest of us should be expected to die off supporting the cartels with our Social Security money is not lost on the current generation.
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