Thursday, September 20, 2012

Medical Marijuana Could Cost Obama the Election, Executive Director for American for Safe Access Argues

Steph Sherer, executive director for pro-medical marijuana organization Americans for Safe Access, argues in The Huffington Post that allowing cannabis to those with a medical need could be a defining issue of the presidential election.

Despite Obama's generally progressive policies, she argues, the president has taken a hardline against states that have approved of the use of marijuana as a medicine and the dispensaries that allow access to patients. "Things would be different," she writes, "if the President would apply his campaign slogan, 'Forward,' to our cause: stopping the raids and prosecutions of state-permitted institutions, and moving public health policy forward by ending the conflict between state and federal law."

With Republican candidate Mitt Romey and President Obama in a virtual tie in many polls, Sherer points to the seven percent showing Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is pulling in the swing state of Colorado. That seven percent may prevent Obama from taking its electoral votes.

There's little downside, Sherer adds. Most adult support medical marijuana (a whopping 80 percent) and another 76 percent do not support the raids against dispensaries.

"With the public on our side, why should patients and our loved ones be silent?" She states.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reason.TV Examines the Unraveling of L.A.'s Latest Attempt to Ban Medical Pot, and its Backlash

Libertarian-leaning Reason.TV posted an online video story about the ban on medical marijuana in Los Angeles and the subsequent public outcry and petition to restore access to patients.

More than 50,000 residents of the city signed a petition to end the ban, effectively ending it before it had a chance to go into effect on Sept. 6.

Don Duncan, the California director of pro-access organization Americans for Safe Access chalks up the action as huge win for patients and those who support the rights of patients to have access to medical marijuana.

"We're letting the city council know that they can't just come in and trump the will of the people, and that when they do things that are very unpopular, the people can stand up and say stop," he told Reason.TV.

Duncan added that the petition may only the be the beginning, as L.A.'s City Attorney and law enforcement officials are determined to define medical cannabis as illegal.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Seattle Proposes New Zoning Laws for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Seattle is hoping to avoid the legal quagmire plaguing Los Angeles' medical marijuana industry with a new set of zoning regulations.

The West Seattle Herald reports that a governmental task force made up of members of the city's mayor's office, councilmembers and the city attorney are establishing where medical cannabis can be grown, processed and dispensed.

Unlike Los Angeles, which enacted a city-wide ban on medical marijuana dispensaries that is currently in contention, Seattle hopes to provide access to patients who need the drug.

"I support safe and responsibly run access points for medical cannabis in Seattle; it's important that these access points be subject to zoning laws and other city regulations just like any other business or land use," City Attorney Pete Holmes stated in a press release.

The proposal would prohibit dispensaries in single family and multifamily residential zones, neighborhood commercial 1 zones as well as the Pioneer Square Mixed, International District Mixed and Residential, Pike Place Mixed and Harborfront communities. Dispensaries would be limited to 45 cannabis plants, 72 ounces of useable cannabis, and marijuana products that could reasonably be produced with 72 ounces of useable cannabis.