Making Green a Lower Priority

Making Green a Lower Priority
Posted by CN Staff on January 28, 2009 at 09:00:26 PT
By J. Anderson 
Source: Kalamazoo Weekly
Michigan -- A local group pushes for a low priority city ordinance for those who smoke marijuana.The Michigan Chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) sees Kalamazoo as a progressive community in which the liberalization of marijuana laws can be fostered. A petition to make the use of cannabis a low priority for arresting authorities is being organized by Louis Stocking of Kalamazoo.
Stocking has been writing letters to the MINORML and finally has their attention. “By low prioritizing it we basically don’t allow them to focus as much time (on marijuana-related arrests),” stated Stocking.South West Michigan coordinator for Michigan NORML, Greg Francisco states, “We have had our eye on Kalamazoo for quite some time because it is a progressive city with a pool of young, energetic activists and the threshold to qualify for the ballot is relatively low compared to some other cities.  But we are also moving ahead organizing in other cities around Michigan at the same time.  Similar measures may appear on as many as three other Michigan cities within the next year. Maybe more as momentum builds and word spreads that this is even possible.”It has been a month and a half since Stocking first started writing the letters and now he has the support of many of the citizens of Kalamazoo. Comments have been made that if a marijuana user is not injuring anyone then it’s a victimless crime, aside from the user whom is being arrested for possession. Stocking responded to this comment, “I do agree that my liberties should not be jeopardized.” He also believes that if legalization is on the books that there should be certain guidelines that would need to be set.On the subject of marijuana being a “gateway drug” Francisco disagrees, “Over 150 million Americans have used marijuana in their life-time, fewer than 500,000 are addicted to harder drugs. If marijuana is a gateway, where are all the addicts?  Teens in the U.S. almost universally follow the same progression: tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, so if cannabis was a gateway drug, it would still be the 3rd along the path. States that harshly punish marijuana offenses have higher rates of hard drug addiction.  States that have decriminalized simple possession have markedly lower rates of hard drug addiction. This suggests that marijuana is not a gateway but rather a terminus.”Rev. Steven B. Thompson, Executive Director of Michigan NORML, believes that cannabis is not a drug to begin with, “It’s a seed bearing herb, not a gateway drug.”Steve Lehman, addiction service supervisor at Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network, believes that Michigan voters made a big mistake in approving medical marijuana on November 4th.He states that the positive benefits are outweighed by the negative effects of making that drug available to people who don’t have a legitimate need for it. In response to Lehman’s statements, Stocking said, “I don’t think that the law is going to be handing it over to people who have headaches, but to those who have actually debilitating diseases.”Medical marijuana is now starting to become mainstream; according to Francisco, Proposal 1 passes by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. “MI NORML supports a policy of treating responsible adult use of marijuana the same way we currently treat responsible adult use of alcohol & tobacco. Legal but heavily regulated, taxed and sold by legitimate businesses who employ clerks who check ID's. All the criminal drug dealer asks to see from kids, is the cash,” states Fransisco. There is no petition right now, but one should start to circulate around Kalamazoo in April. Stocking said that the petition will have to be turned in mid-August. He also thinks that the petition will get the people out even more to vote.Francisco thinks the fiscal responsibility and wise use of limited public resources is something everyone wants, regardless of political stripe.This measure is about how to allocate limited resources to attain the maximum value. “We expect the most vigorous opposition to come from those who benefit the most financially from the status quo and organizations who risk loosing funding currently derived through aggressive use of civil forfeiture.”“A Lowest Law Enforcement Priority measure will direct the KPS & the City Attorney to make the arrest & prosecution of small amounts of marijuana with no other aggravating circumstances their lowest priority,” said Francisco, “What this will do is free up scarce resources so that they can be devoted to addressing more serious crimes.” Source: Kalamazoo Weekly (MI)Author: J. Anderson Published: January 28, 2009Copyright: 2009 Birch River Group, LLC. Contact: Editor KalamazooWeekly.comURL: NORML -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on January 31, 2009 at 07:56:17 PT
OT: Un?-Intended Consequences?
Health plan funds killer drug.
Publicly paid prescriptions for potent, often-abused painkiller skyrocket – and so does the death rate.
January 31, 2009.
Comments on this story (28). 
Kevin Donovan, 
excerpt {
Last year, doctors prescribed $54 million of OxyContin – called "hillbilly heroin" by street dealers – under a provincial program that provides free medications to people on social assistance, seniors and people with disabilities. That's nearly triple the $19 million handed out five years before.
}If only doctors and government health officials were not so reluctant to allow more pain patients to use medical cannabis!
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on January 29, 2009 at 09:01:16 PT
Legalized skullduggery!
Back when they had the public juiced on the war on cannabis, LEOs enjoyed a hay-day. The general public showed a 85% [and some places even higher] favorably for the drug war. At this time there were pot bust on the news every night. Cops strutted around on camera spouting their skewed propaganda in staged interviews. It was real sickening. Now the public opinion has changed 180 but their greed and averous has not. With public opinion against them they now continue their skullduggery's on the DL. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 29, 2009 at 08:47:51 PT
When I get into how I'm thinking right now I try to figure it all out. Why wouldn't they make a big deal about a bust and put it in the newspapers? That seems just totally weird to me.
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Comment #12 posted by runruff on January 29, 2009 at 08:41:02 PT
FoM, don't worry,
The LEOs will make sure that every last gram of it gets burned up.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on January 29, 2009 at 08:33:18 PT
When they take marijuana and don't arrest anyone I wonder if it is because they might be looking for bigger fish to fry. I don't know because this is way over my head but I can't help but think that at times.
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on January 29, 2009 at 08:24:49 PT
thanks for the info! The recent trend of LEO's to take everything without arresting or charging anyone is most disturbing.It really does put the DEA and other law enforcement into the realm of a paramilitary squad. Without having to go to court they are operating completely outside the boundaries of law.Our government is becoming more and more totalitarian. I read in today's paper about Barry Bonds. You know the federal government wants to nail him, they finally found a black guy to take out all their steroid frustration upon.Apparently Bond's former trainer has refused to testify against him - so much for the right to remain silent. They already jailed him for 1 year for not testifying. After he got out again he refused to speak.So, yesterday the feds raided the house of the trainer's mother-in-law. That's right, the day he refused to testify in court the IRS sent a "target" letter to his wife's mother, saying she was the target of a tax investigation.He still refused to testify so they sent 20 - twenty! - federal agents in to raid the house where his wife and her mother were living. This is also reminscent of the guy they drove to suicide over the 2001-2002 anthrax mailings. It's starting to look more and more like Russia, where the govt just kills you if they don't like you. Or have you sent to a mental asylum. We're getting more like that every's the story....
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on January 29, 2009 at 07:15:24 PT
The buisness of pot prohibition.
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Comment #8 posted by paul armentano on January 29, 2009 at 07:08:15 PT
Oh yeah
DEA made the raids, but local cops also participated...
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Comment #7 posted by paul armentano on January 29, 2009 at 07:06:25 PT
Sam Adams
Sam,As best I know, the two busts in CO went unreported in the media. Both were cases of providers cultivating for about 100-125 patients. The cases were in a city outside of Denver (Aurora).  No arrests were made and I believe that the individuals involved may be filing suit for damages/compensation/return-of-property, etc. The legal counsel for both parties is on NORML's legal committee, which is how I'm aware of the details of both cases.
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Comment #6 posted by goneposthole on January 28, 2009 at 20:50:26 PT
cannabis is news
I am pleased to know that he members of the younger generation have completely embraced cannabis as a recreational substance. America is a safer place with a fully-fledged new generation of youth responsibly imbibing in cannabis.It is far safer than alcohol.Cannabis can't be beat. Smoke some and find out for yourself. Cannabis is a gateway away from harsh, health destroying drugs.
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on January 28, 2009 at 20:10:09 PT
Q for Paul
Paul, I saw in your recent essay that the feds have raided two medical MJ houses in Colorado since Obama came in - do you have a link to any more information on this, can't seem to find it anywhere.Great article as usual!
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Comment #4 posted by paul armentano on January 28, 2009 at 16:58:42 PT
If you live in these states...
You ought to be in touch with your legislators NOW re: pending marijuana law reforms:CT -- House Bill 5175, an act to exempt qualified medical cannabis patients from state arrest and prosecution, 
CT -- Senate Bill 349, an act to reclassify the possession of minor amounts of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infractionMN -- Senate File 97, an act to exempt qualified medical cannabis patients from state arrest and prosecutionNH -- House Bill 648, an act to legalize the medical use of marijuanaSD -- House Bill 1127, an act "to provide safe legal access to medical marijuana for certain qualified persons"TX -- House Bill 164, an act to allow for certain marijuana patients to present a medical necessity defense in courtVA -- House Bill 2468, an act to expunge certain criminal marijuana convictionsWA -- Senate Bill 5615, an act reclassifying the possession of forty grams or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a class 2 civil infractionYou can contact your state elected officials re: the above measures (and other proposals as well), as well as check their legislative status, by going here:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 28, 2009 at 10:08:49 PT
Keep up the good work. Michigan is very important to my state and other states in the mid west. We have many blue states now so hopefully we will be able to get a lot done over the next 4 years. 
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Comment #2 posted by fight_4_freedom on January 28, 2009 at 10:02:25 PT
Louis is quite a brave and determined cannabis 
soldier. He is only 21 and he is taking the lead in this here initiative. Luckily he has some big time veteran reformers to help out with it. I give this kid a lot of credit for his courage though. The activism light here in Michigan is shining bright. And as soon as I typed that sentence, the sun came out on this cloudy day for the first time. What a beautiful little moment :)
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on January 28, 2009 at 09:23:59 PT
Cop 'n Doughnuts.
The cops used to sneer, "If you don't like the law change it!" What are they saying these days?Pot prohib was considered job security and one reason for that is, cops figure that "stoners" are to lazy to do anything about it. I said, do you base that assumption on the fact that the "stoners" in the department spend too much time at Dunkin' Doughnuts? In their defence I say; "I don't believe cops need an excuse to spend all day at Dunkin" Doughnuts."Now that they are solidly still behind the WoD and they are losing We can literally call them losers. Before now it was just wishful thinking.
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