Push To Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in Calif.
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Push To Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in Calif.');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Push To Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in Calif.
Posted by CN Staff on October 27, 2009 at 19:35:57 PT
By Jesse McKinley
Source: New York Times
San Francisco, CA -- These are heady times for advocates of legalized marijuana in California — and only in small part because of the newly relaxed approach of the federal government toward medical marijuana.State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Wednesday on the effects of a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate the drug — in what would be the first such law in the United States. Tax officials estimate the legislation could bring the struggling state about $1.4 billion a year, and though the bill’s fate in the Legislature is uncertain, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has indicated he would be open to a “robust debate” on the issue.
California voters are also taking up legalization. Three separate initiatives are being circulated for signatures to appear on the ballot next year, all of which would permit adults to possess marijuana for personal use and allow local governments to tax it. Even opponents of legalization suggest that an initiative is likely to qualify for a statewide vote. “All of us in the movement have had the feeling that we’ve been running into the wind for years,” said James P. Gray, a retired judge in Orange County who has been outspoken in support of legalization. “Now we sense we are running with the wind.”Proponents of the leading ballot initiative have collected nearly 300,000 signatures since late September, supporters say, easily on pace to qualify for the November 2010 general election. Richard Lee, a longtime marijuana activist who is behind the measure, says he has raised nearly $1 million to hire professionals to assist volunteers in gathering the signatures.“Voters are ripping the petitions out of our hands,” Mr. Lee said. That said, the bids to legalize marijuana are opposed by law enforcement groups across the state and, if successful, would undoubtedly set up a legal showdown with the federal government, which classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, in 1996, but court after court — including the United States Supreme Court — has ruled that the federal government can continue to enforce its ban. Only this month, with the Department of Justice announcement that it would not prosecute users and providers of medical marijuana who obey state law, has that threat subsided.But federal authorities have also made it clear that their tolerance stops at recreational use. In a memorandum on Oct. 19 outlining the medical marijuana guidelines, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden said marijuana was “a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime,” adding that “no state can authorize violations of federal law.”Still, Mr. Lee anticipates spending up to $20 million on a campaign to win passage of his ballot measure in California, raising some of it from the hundreds of already legal medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, which have been recently fighting efforts by Los Angeles city officials to tighten restrictions on their operations.“It’s a $2 billion industry,” Mr. Lee said of the medical marijuana sales. Opponents said they are also preparing for a battle next year.“I fully expect they will qualify,” said John Lovell, a Sacramento lobbyist for several groups of California law enforcement officials that oppose legalization.Any vote would take place in a state where attitudes toward marijuana border on the schizophrenic. Last year, the state made some 78,500 arrests on felony and misdemeanors related to the drug, up from about 74,000 in 2007, according to the California attorney general. Seizures of illegal marijuana plants, often grown by Mexican gangs on public lands in forests and parks, hit an all-time high in 2009, and last week, federal authorities announced a series of arrests in the state’s Central Valley, where homes have been converted into “indoor grows.” At the same time, however, there are also pockets of California where marijuana can seem practically legal already. At least seven California cities have formally declared marijuana a low priority for law enforcement, with ballot measures or legislative actions. In Los Angeles, some 800 to 1,000 dispensaries of medical marijuana are in business, officials say, complete with consultants offering public relations services and “canna-business management.” Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat and author of the legalization bill, said momentum for legalization has built in recent years, especially as the state’s finances have remained sour. “A lot of people that were initially resistant or even ridiculed it have come aboard,” Mr. Ammiano said. In Oakland, which passed a tax on medical cannabis sales in July, several people who signed a petition backing Mr. Lee’s initiative said they were motivated in part by the cost of imprisoning drug offenders and the toll of drug-related violence in Mexico.“Personally I don’t see a way of getting it under control other than legalizing it and taxing it,” said Jim Quinn, 60, a production manager. “We’ve got to get it out of the hands of criminals both domestic and international.” Mr. Lovell, the law enforcement lobbyist, however, said those arguments paled in comparison to the potential pitfalls of legalization, including people driving under the influence. He also questioned how much net revenue a tax like Mr. Ammiano is proposing would actually raise. “We get revenue from alcohol,” he said. “But there’s way more in social costs than we retain in revenues.”The recent history of voter-approved drug reform laws in California is not encouraging for supporters of legalization. Last November, voters rejected a proposition that would have increased spending for drug treatment programs and loosened parole and prison requirements for drug offenders.None of which seems to faze Mr. Lee, 47, a former roadie who founded Oaksterdam University, a medical marijuana trade school in Oakland, in 2007. Mr. Lee says he plans to use the Internet to raise money, as well as tapping out-of state sources for campaign money. More than anything, however, Mr. Lee said he was banking on a basic shift in people’s attitudes toward the drug. “For a lot of people,” he said, “it’s just another brand of beer.”Note: A version of this article appeared in print on October 28, 2009, on page A18 of the New York edition.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Jesse McKinleyPublished: October 28, 2009Copyright: 2009 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #20 posted by Brandon Perera on October 29, 2009 at 03:21:29 PT:
Thank You!
Great resource! I think that I'm gonna swing through there in the morning. Appreciate the news Rev!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #19 posted by ekim on October 28, 2009 at 20:05:34 PT
Woody on Hard Ball last nite
has a new movie called Messenger.i tuned in late, but liked the way Cris treated Woody. I saw real respect for Woody as a person,I can only hope that someday Cris will have him on to talk about all he has done for the Cannabis movement.Like the Lady teacher down in KY. or the trial that Woody was gaged against any mention of a mmj defence by the Judge.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #18 posted by FoM on October 28, 2009 at 17:51:33 PT
John Tyler
I agree. It will be way harder to get cannabis legalized then for medical marijuana to expand into more states in my opinion.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #17 posted by John Tyler on October 28, 2009 at 17:40:36 PT
Most high level politicians, for one reason or another, would rather not have an attachment to cannabis legislation just yet. Call it discreet, or what ever you like. They seem to be willing to let it slid by on the down low though. The Feds have backed off on medical cannabis if it goes by state laws. They could just as easily say that the Fed will not interfere in state affairs regarding legal cannabis if everyone goes by state laws. The Fed could do a decrim or better on their on and let the states decide what they would like to do. State after state will follow this pattern. It slides by with no big hoopla. Cannabis gets legal quietly, and everybody is happy, except for the prohibitionists who are left wondering, “What happened?”. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by Hope on October 28, 2009 at 09:49:24 PT
I sure hope it's going well.
"State lawmakers are holding a hearing on Wednesday".
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by FoM on October 28, 2009 at 06:04:34 PT
You're welcome.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by SnowedUnder on October 28, 2009 at 05:32:42 PT:
One more suggestion for...
Mr. Lovell. Why not talk to your own kind at LEAP.CC?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by SnowedUnder on October 28, 2009 at 05:26:23 PT:
About Mr. Lovell's position...
he really needs to attend classes and get educated at Oaksterdam University.
Go California Go.
Thank you FOM. Have a great day.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on October 28, 2009 at 05:09:29 PT
Related Article From
The Case for Marijuana Legalization and RegulationBy Paul Armentano, AlterNetOctober 28, 2009URL:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by RevRayGreen on October 28, 2009 at 05:05:42 PT
CN member taking up the public fight NW IA
What's in your medicine cabinet? Aspirin, Pepto Bismol, Marijuana?A storm lake man is trying to make that happen once again. Tomorrow morning at the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors meeting, Paul Peterson has something he wants to say. It will be his third time asking for change, and he's hoping this time will be the charm. Everytime after, the jail time and fines go up, but Paul Peterson is hoping to change that. "I will be appearing in front of the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors again, for the third or fourth time to ask them to enact a valid prosecutorial discretion policy themselves, in Iowa its called the home-rule power." Says Peterson.In other words, he want's to loosen or lax the penalties for someone who is caught with a minor possession of marijuana. It's what he feels will pave the way to make it easier for someone to legally use the drug for medicinal purposes. "Medical marijuana rights will never be taken seriously as long as there is a two tier citizen ring. If we decriminalize and downgrade the possession charge, then people are more willing to look at the medical rights." Says Peterson.Today he announced his campaign to run against Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to bring change to the states medical marijuana policies. Senator Grassley sees marijuana as a "gateway" drug and believes policies shouldn't change. BRING IT PAUL !!!!!
Storm Lake Man Wants Change
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by runruff on October 28, 2009 at 04:56:19 PT
DEA=Praetorian Guard
Caesar's personal Body guard and Police of the state. They did the Emperor's biding.Nixon used them to go after Americans he didn't like. He also used the FBI and the IRS to go after Americans he didn't like. He created a "Sic Dog" of state with the DEA. The DEA is a symptom. It is an indicator of the callous mindset of industry driven politicians or in the case of Nixon, a mean drunk! The DEA is an invention of his scotch fueled brain. The Gestapo was modeled after the "Guard" and Nixon modeled the DEA after the Gestapo. All Psyco's. All power driven mad fools.When the Emperor was threatened the Guard would protect him, naturally, but in the case where a populace revolt killed the Emperor, the Guard saved the last remaining heir to the throne to insure they would not lose their jobs. Praetorian Guards and DEA Agents alike are like coy dogs. They are kept and fed and when a threat arises they and there to attack. Living near the Emperor was much better than working or fighting in wars and living in the field. They were over paid to keep them from walking off with everything.DEA, Gestapo, CIA, Praetorian Guard, all cut from the same cloth.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by Brandon Perera on October 28, 2009 at 02:44:03 PT:
Think pro-green with marijuana
We should be alot farther in the production of hemp and marijuana. The society these days is lacking the correct people to understand that this country is being run by propaganda. Do what is right
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Brandon Perera on October 28, 2009 at 01:21:54 PT:
Bridge Collapse!
That's not right that had to happen on the day before
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by EAH on October 27, 2009 at 23:18:36 PT:
LEO meddling
Why are LE involved? They need to do their jobs and let the voters handle what it is we want them to do.This is their new talking point:
"But there’s way more in social costs than we retain in revenues."That is pure speculation with no factual backing. They base it on what they claim are the costs of alcohol. Only cannabis is far less debilitating than alcohol and the comparison is fraudulent. Besides it also ignores that there are already many cannabis users driving now, so where are all the cannabis caused accidents.
This is the point of theirs that we need to refute. This is the lie that causes 
voters on the fence to chicken out. This is what they make lying TV adds about.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by E_Johnson on October 27, 2009 at 21:08:22 PT
We need to get a federal law passed before 2012
It looks like Obama is being talked into losing the war in Afghanistan. If he loses that war, the Republicans are going to take the White House again in 2012 and we will be screwed.So we need to get a law passed before people make him lose.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by FoM on October 27, 2009 at 20:22:23 PT
A Visit To The Medical Marijuana Doctor
October 28, 2009URL:,0,874874.column
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 27, 2009 at 20:17:54 PT
My goodness thank you. What a nice compliment.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by The GCW on October 27, 2009 at 20:05:17 PT
State's rights is the right thing to do.
Again, state's rights being respected with medical use of cannabis may indicate how the Fed will acknowledge RE-legalizing cannabis in general.I think the chance of the Feds accepting hemp in states is greater than the chance of the Feds accepting legalized cannabis in general, though.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by schmeff on October 27, 2009 at 19:59:51 PT
I Can't Fault Obama...
...but I think Obama hasn't done near as much to advance our cause as our friend FOM.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 27, 2009 at 19:38:22 PT
We Really Are On A Roll
I am still amazed at how far we are advancing since Obama became our President.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment