Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pro-Legalization Forces Makes Resolution for Oregon, California

Reuters reports that pro-pot legalization advocates plan to return to two states where they've been refused — Oregon and California.

The states were among the first to allow the medical use of marijuana, but recently rejected its recreational use. Bolstered by their successful initiatives in Washington and Colorado, pro-legalization groups plan on taking the fight back to California and Oregon.

Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said, "We know that the younger generation is more supportive and the opposition really comes from the older generation. And as time goes on there's more of the younger generation and less of the older generation. The second factor is we have these results in Colorado and Washington under our belt, so that sort of fertilizes the ground."

The strides medical and legalization groups made to advance marijuana is remarkable. Medical marijuana's moved from a fringe political issue to an issue that's rallying conservatives and progressives alike. In the same way, talking about legalization a few years ago would never have been taken seriously, but the turnout to support legalized weed in Washington and Colorado shows the public is ready for a real change in national drug policy.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections on a Collective: Shari Albert's Medical Marijuana Education

While most joke about writers and actors waiting tables and working at call centers until their big break, Shari Albert writes about her experiences working in a Los Angeles medical marijuana collective.

Though she originally took the job as a means of survival between gigs after appearing in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film "The Brother’s McMullen," she found herself liking the job's human contact and the availability of pot.

She writes: "In LA, you can go entire days without talking to another human, but this job forced me to get out of the house, interact with people whose lives were very different than mine, and learn, in the process, to let go of a lot of judgment I didn’t even knew I carried with me.

"On the flip side, I was smoking WAY too much weed. I realized this when hanging out with a friend, hitting the bong about three times more than he did, and not even getting high. At five feet tall, my tolerance felt like a football player's. He was concerned, as was I."

The schizophrenic nature of Los Angeles' medical pot laws are also touched on, such as pot, or "medicine," technically not being "sold."

Albert has since gone on to star in "Ugly Betty," "King of Queens," and "Law & Order." She's now working on a web series about a medical marijuana collective...of course.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

DEA Uncooperative in LAPD Investigation of Drug Suspect's Death

In a display of just how crazy the "war on drugs" has gotten, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a murder that occurred during the Drug Enforcement Agency's watch — and is getting stonewalled in their inquiry, the LA Times reports.

The investigation, which has been ongoing for the past two years, involves the arrest and subsequent death of Alberto Arriaga, who had been fingered by a DEA informant as a supposed meth dealer.
When he was taken in by the LAPD to be booked, Arriaga said he had no medical issues, but later complained of abdominal pains and that he was beaten by the DEA agents. He was taken to a hospital and died 16 hours later.

Homicide investigators tasked with investigating the death were told the DEA agents needed to find legal representation, then were told the questioning would have to be done after the autopsy was completed.

However, the agency did not make the agents available. Los Angeles prosecutors then decided that local police had no jurisdiction to question federal agents. The US Attorney agreed to do the questioning — but to date, it has not occurred.