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Legislative developments

bullet image Via ASA: Medical Marijuana “Truth in Trials” Bill Introduced in House

U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), and a bipartisan group of his colleagues, re-introduced the “Truth in Trials” bill in the U.S. House of Representatives today.

The “Truth in Trials” Act establishes an affirmative defense for individuals who are authorized to use and provide medical cannabis in accordance with state and local law. Under the provisions of the bill, patients and their caregivers would be permitted to introduce evidence for the court’s consideration which may demonstrate compliance with a state medical marijuana law.

Ask your U.S. Representative to become a cosponsor of the “Truth in Trials” Act.

bullet image Via MPP: Calif. Assembly Weighs Legalizing Marijuana, 1st Time Since 1913

On Wednesday, the California Assembly Public Safety Committee will hold a historic hearing on the implications of taxing and regulating marijuana similarly to alcoholic beverages.

The informational hearing marks the first time California’s legislature has considered ending marijuana prohibition since California first banned marijuana in 1913.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), chair of the committee, is author of AB 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act. A press conference will precede the hearing.

The following people will speak at the press conference: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano; Aaron Smith, Marijuana Policy Project; Stephen Gutwillig, Drug Policy Alliance; and Dale Gieringer, California NORML.

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6 comments to Legislative developments

  • DdC

    L.A.P.D.og Perversions…
    Legislating toll booths to enter castles in the sky.
    and these nuts carry guns!

    One City’s Insane Fight Against Obama’s Pot Policy

    As the right-wingers warned from the beginning, medical marijuana is turning out to be the genie you can’t stuff back in the bottle. Even if the L.A. city council’s rushed vote comes down in favor of the Trutanich ordinance, it seems likely that the regulations will be overturned in the courts — which is exactly what happened with Trutanich’s last attempt to shut down the clubs. The state attorney general has already gone on record saying — and reiterated to Esquire.com when we asked him for comment — that the law allows sales. In the end, this case of bureaucratic bullying — and others across the country as states come to terms with a (relatively) sane White House pot policy — will be just another pointless and expensive skirmish on the inevitable road to marijuana legalization.

    But for now, the fight is on: One day after Trutanich submitted the draft ordinance, the LAPD raided Nature’s Natural.

    DAREyl SWAT Gates LAPDog Perversions

    “Casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”
    — Daryl DARE Gates – Former LAPD Chief

    Sister Somaya Kambui 03/20/02
    It took this diverse jury of her peers just three hours to deliberate. When they returned with their verdict, the judge commended the audience for their comportment during the trial, and asked them to refrain from reacting to what they were about to hear. Then the charges were listed. Fifteen times, the forewoman repeated the words, “Not guilty.” Sister Somaya was acquitted on all counts.

    Police testified that they found more than 200 pounds of marijuana plants in Somayah Kambui’s backyard when she was arrested Oct. 5. They believed she was using her medical condition as a ruse to run a distribution operation out of her South Los Angeles house.

    Also seized were six pounds of marijuana in large glasses, an additional 13 pounds in packaging, 34 marijuana cookies, 32 small brown vials of hash oil, and a pot on the stove with three liters of oil. But after six days of testimony, a Superior Court jury spent only three hours deliberating before finding Kambui, 51, not guilty on all five counts.

    The Modesto Bee Sunday ran a story about a Modesto man arrested for having 150 plants in his back yard. The district attorney’s office declined to prosecute because it hasn’t been able to get juries to convict people with a doctor’s recommendation on cultivation charges.

    “DEA Success Update: Let’s see. After 20 years of relentless federal Drug War activity, while the price of world-class marijuana has gone from $60 an ounce to $450, the price of quality cocaine has plummeted from $125 a gram to $30, and 30%-pure heroin has dropped from $700 a gram to about $100. Way to go, boys! “
    — High Times, April 1995

  • It should be (and IS, as far as I’m concerned) unconstitutional for the government to exclude certain defenses from use at criminal trials. The legislature can pass all laws it wants outlawing certain actions, but it has no business telling a defendant what he/she can’t use as a defense. From diminished capacity, self-defense, mistake of law, mistake of fact, insanity, entrapment, permitted by state law, the “he needed killing” defense, “victim had sex with my spouse” (justification defense), to the “victim was a stinking nigger and I hate stinking niggers” defense – it should be up to the defendant to choose his defense and up to the jury to decide whether it is viable. Yes, this leaves the door open to some possible injustice, but I seriously doubt any jury in america – not even in the deep south – would acquit someone on the bases of a “the victim was a queer” or “the victim was a nigger” defense. But it’s the defendant’s Fifth and Sixth Amendment right to assert such a defense if he/she so desires.

    Laws that exclude defenses are a plain violation of due process.

    The way a criminal trial SHOULD work is if the prosecutor can prove each and ever element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, it should create a rebuttable presumption that the defendant is guilty (not an absolute requirement that the defendant IS guilty and must be found guilty). Then it is up to the defendant, however he sees fit, to try to rebut that presumption. A crime is a crime because society deems the action to be extremely unreasonable. If the defendant can convince a jury that his actions were nonetheless reasonable, he should be acquitted. That is the only fair way to conduct a criminal trial. A long time ago, that’s basically how it worked. But after each controversial acquittal, politicians sucked up to get votes and be “tough on crime” and passed laws to outlaw the defense that secured the verdict that pissed off a lot of people.

    By way of example, after Dan White was basically acquitted for the murder of Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone using the diminished capacity defense, California – and then all the other states – quickly banned the use of diminished capacity as a defense.

    Justice means guilty people occasionally go free. Otherwise it means innocent people get convicted. The only reason to ban a defendant from using a particular defense is the state’s fear that said defense will work. Prosecutors don’t like that (they want their opponents to be literally defenseless at trial). At this point a monkey can win a conviction because practically ever defense has been outlawed, or so extremely limited that it is effectively useless.

  • Truth in Trials is a great idea. What if there were ballot initiatives solely design to express the public’s desire for federal de-politicization? E.g.

    “We, the citizens of Florida ask that the federal government stop the obstruction of medical research by removing cannabinoids from Schedule I of the CSA. We request a scientific review of the evidence supporting that position as well as a review of research studies denied access to cannabis.”

    Seems like these would be fairly passable.

  • Steve: a state ballot initiative cannot overrule federal law. See the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution. If it were that easy, there would have been ballot initiatives saying, for example: “We, the citizens of Alabama, ask the federal government to cease its attempts to integrate our schools and recognize that the races are to be separated as that is the clear Intent of God.”

    Anyway, there’s nothing more unamerican than ballot initiatives, even on the state level. America is not a plebiscite.

  • DdC

    No Bruce, again you attack the band aids while the mad slasher is lacerating the citizens. The CSA is as Un-Constitutional as the overturned Marijuana Tax Act. This has always been a state matter. Nothing delegated to the Feds concerning Ganja or Hemp or any drug. Those so blind to miss the point of being Constitutional will continue to drag up rednecks wanting state rights to lynch or even segregate. That is clearly abusing Constitutional rights of citizens and therefore the jurisdiction of the Feds.

    Same with Liberals fearing Jury Nullification because rednecks got their KKK friends off scott free. But this doesn’t apply to citizens defending themselves from an out of control, abusive Federal drug policy and Un-Constitutional deterrents to create a prison state.

    Mandatory minimum, 3 strikes and 404 gag rules only serve to make plea bargains a lesser evil for defendants. 95% choose to plea out over risking long sentences and not having the ability to claim a medical defense. Then forced piss taste and rehab to use as propaganda and profits. These are what you should rant about.

    Not the survival tactics we have had to adapt because cowards go after the weak before the gravy train. This is war, stealing bullets to mount a defense may technically be Politically Incorrect, but its keeping patients alive. Its not giving them the right to abuse other patients or abuse anyone period. Just a defense only necessary because Nixon’s lie is still standing as law. Un-Constitutionally.

    CA MJ Ban Gets Legislative Review After 96 Years

    Push To Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in Calif.

    Montana Issues License To Grow Hemp

    Marijuana Tax Act
    Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 (1969)

    Nixon lied to schedule Ganja #1

  • Oh I completely agree that the CSA is unconstitutional. But to the extent every court in the country has upheld it (as well as the “Drug Exception” to the Constitution), it is the law of the land and no state can change it – not by an act of the state legislature or by a ballot initiative.

    Most people should question why it required amending the Constitution to merely ban the sale and manufacture of alcohol, but it apparently only takes an act of Congress to ban the sale, manufacture, and mere personal possession of “controlled substances” – that should give great pause to anyone with a working brain. Of course the modern day answer is that the original prohibitionists screwed up – all they needed to do was pass a statute to outlaw the sale and manufacture of alcohol, and they could have also banned the mere possession of it too, if they had wanted. All by statute, no constitutional amendment required. Nobody made that argument at the time – it was universally understood that to enact alcohol alcohol prohibition (and then, just to regulate sale and manufacture) would require amending the Constitution.

    FDR, his disdain for the Constitution, his “ends always justify means” attitude, and his threat to pack the supreme court with judges who would uphold his unconstitutional public works laws are the root cause of this terrible change in attitude over what the Constitution allows, which eventually led to the unconstitutional CSA and modern day “Drug Exception” to the Constitution.