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April 2004



Another great column

Wow! In today’s Chicago Sun Times, by Neil Steinberg: We’ve Lost War on Drugs, Must We Lose Our Rights?

Next week in Washington, D.C., opening arguments begin in a federal lawsuit that you might not have heard about. A few months back, a new law tucked discreetly into a government spending bill cut off […]

Is that a metabolite in your hair?

Excellent OpEd in yesterday’s Cincinnati Post by Paul Armentano:

Imagine if it was against the law to drive home after consuming a single glass of wine at dinner. Now imagine it was against the law to do so after having consumed a single glass of wine two weeks ago.

Sound absurd? No more so than newly proposed Congressional legislation by Ohio Rep. Rob Portman mandating that each state enact laws sanctioning anyone who operates a motor vehicle “while any detectable amount of a controlled substance is present in the person’s body, as measured in the person’s blood, urine, saliva, or other bodily substance.”

While the expressed purpose of this legislation, the “Drug Impaired Driving Enforcement Act of 2004,” is to target and remove drug-impaired drivers from our nation’s roadways, the reality is that this poorly worded proposal would do little to improve public safety. Rather, it would falsely categorize sober drivers as “intoxicated” simply if they had consumed an illicit substance, particularly marijuana, some days or weeks earlier.

This is bad law. It is also improper at the federal level (it’s actually closer to federal blackmail against the states).
Get active!

Go to MAP’s Focus Alert and write some letters to the media. Letters that get published are worth more than advertising, and MAP will help you do it.
Tell your Congressman about this. It’s quick and easy.

Economics for Dummies

This one cracked me up. Last One Speaks was covering the fact that Jamaica and Cuba have apparently been hoodwinked by our government into thinking asset forfeiture is smart government (!), and one of the quotes included:

As the US President’s National Drug Control Strategy for 2004 states, “The drug trade is not an […]

More important incremental medical marijuana victories

I just received this from Americans for Safe Access:

San Jose, CA.  Eighteen months after a brutal DEA raid on a medical marijuana collective in Santa Cruz, California, the seriously ill collective members finally got the protection from future raids and harassment they have sought since filing suit against the federal government one year ago.  After reconsidering his earlier decision in the high profile case County of Santa Cruz et al. v. Ashcroft, Judge Jeremy Fogel of the Northern District of California has granted Plaintiffs a preliminary injunction and denied the government’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint.  Today’s ruling will protect the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) while the lawsuit is pending, and allow the collective to resume cultivation.

The Drug Policy Alliance, along with the law firm Bingham McCutchen LLP, the Santa Cruz City Attorney and co-counsel Prof. Gerald Uelmen and Ben Rice, represent Plaintiffs in this case.  “In the face of overzealous federal law enforcement, for the first time a court has applied the law in a way that protects the right of a group of sick people to grow and share their medicine without fear,” said Judy Appel, Director of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Today’s decision affirms the right of WAMM’s members to cultivate and use marijuana for medicinal purposes free from federal interference,” stated Neha Shah Nissen, an attorney with Bingham McCutchen.  “The federal government can no longer ignore the will of the people of the State of California and the City and County of Santa Cruz to protect the health and welfare of terminally and chronically ill individuals.” 

“We applaud the Court’s decision and we are profoundly pleased as we prepare to replant our garden,” said Valerie Corral, co-founder of WAMM. “But we also steady ourselves for a tug of war with the present administration’s unwillingness to honor the democratic process.”

This is yet another example of the reach of the 9th Circuit decision in Raich v. Ashcroft. Clearly, because of that case, the Judge re-evaluated and determined that WAMM had a good chance of winning their case against the government.
One more little step in the move in the courts toward reigning in the illegal actions of the feds and their harrassment of medical marijuana in the states.