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July 27, 2006

Letter: 'Compassion Gap'

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here's a letter I had published today in the Billings Montana Outpopst. This is my first published LTE in MT so far, and Montana is the 26th state I have had LTEs supporting medical cannabis published in, for a total of 237 published letters since September 1997, that I know of...

Source: Billings Outpost
Pubdate: 27 July 2006
Author: Gary Storck

'COMPASSION GAP'

Thanks for recognizing Wisconsin congressman David Obey for sticking up for medical marijuana patients in a recent debate in your column, "Here's how Democrats can win in November" (July 20).

Unfortunately, according to the roll call, there are only 18 Republicans who, as you noted of Rep. Obey, speak like true Republicans on this issue. It was interesting to hear one of them, amendment cosponsor Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), a former aide to President Reagan, share how not only did fellow Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger's daughter utilize cannabis fighting the cancer that eventually took her life, but that Nofziger himself used it to help manage his final illness.

Recent polling in New Jersey by the Drug Policy Alliance that found 86 percent support for state legislation also confirmed voters are more likely to support candidates who support medical marijuana.

If Democrats can exploit this "compassion gap," and field candidates who agree with most Americans that medical marijuana should be legal, it could likely provide the margin of victory they need to take back Congress this fall.

Gary Storck

Madison NORML

Madison, Wis.

Posted by Gary at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2006

Letter: Green lacks compassion on medical marijuana issue

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, July 15, 2006

Here's a letter I wrote that was published today in the Waukesha Freeman. I'm a native of the "Spring City", and was a Freeman carrier in my early teens. Waukesha County is a Republican stronghold, but Waukesha is more working class and recently elected a nominally Democratic mayor in an election against the area's outgoing GOP State Assembly rep, Ann Nischke. Rep. Nischke was a good Republican who toed the party line, never taking a position on mmj to my knowledge.

One more thing. The opinions expressed in my letter and in this blog are my personal opinions and not necessarily those of Madison NORML. My intent with this letter is to help educate voters on where candidates stand, so they can have as much information available as possible when making their choices.

Source: Waukesha Freeman
Pubdate: July 15, 2006
Author: Gary Storck

GREEN LACKS COMPASSION ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA ISSUE

There is no longer any question whether marijuana is medicinal, but even if there were, is it good public policy to arrest and jail patients who have turned to it after modern medicine has failed them?

Congressman Mark Green apparently thinks so, judging by his vote recently against a congressional budget amendment that would have prohibited the use of federal funds - our tax dollars - to target medical marijuana patients in the 11 states that have legalized it. This is Green's fourth such vote in four years.

While Fox TV commentator Bill O'Reilly has his "no spin zone," Green apparently has a "no compassion zone." For a man who aspires to be the governor of Wisconsin, a state whose citizens overwhelmingly support medical marijuana, Green has a strange way of trying to connect with voters.

Meanwhile, the incumbent, Gov. Jim Doyle, has always stated he would sign medical marijuana legislation if and when it reaches his desk. I've taken the pledge to never vote for any candidate who opposes medical marijuana, and I hope you will too.

Gary Storck, co-founder, Is My Medicine Legal YET?
Madison

[End of letter]

Please take the pledge, newly revised to “never vote for any candidate who opposes medical marijuana or who refuses to state their position”. The revised wording was suggested by Jim Miller, a man who is no stranger to getting politicians on record on medical marijuana.

Wisconsin’s medical marijuana bill died in committee because of lawmakers who refused to take a position, both Republicans and Democrats. They want to represent us. They owe us an answer. If everyone keeps asking, soon we’ll know where they all stand. Then we can start electing people who truly represent the overwhelming sentiment among Wisconsinites that medical marijuana should be legal in our state click here.

Posted by Gary at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Al Gore’s record on another “Inconvenient Truth” raises questions about his overall credibility

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Anyone know what Al Gore’s current position on medical marijuana is?

There is no disputing the reality of global warming, and it is good to see Al Gore raising awareness with his book and movie, but his record on another “inconvenient truth”, the likewise indisputable science of medical marijuana, raises questions about his overall credibility and trustworthiness.

While campaigning for president in 1999, Gore, an admitted pot smoker before entering politics, and according to some sources a man who truly loved the herb, "Young Gore Smoked Marijuana Regularly, Says Former Friend" click here, briefly appeared to support medical marijuana, citing his late sister’s participation in a Tennessee state program in 1984 that provided marijuana to cancer patients, "White House Papers Over Gap With Gore" click here.

But in May 2000, Gore strongly backed away from his earlier support, saying, “Right now, the science does not show me, or the experts whose judgment I trust, that it is the proper medication for pain and that there are not better alternatives available in every situation.” SEE: "Blowing Smoke About Medical Marijuana" click here.

Back in 2000, Gore refused to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that marijuana was medicine because of politics, just as many politicians today deny global warming. Gore refused to stick up for patients like his sister because he thought it would cost him votes, when the opposite was true.

It begs the question what Gore’s position on global warming would be today, were he now inhabiting the White House, rather than on the outside looking in.

Posted by Gary at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2006

Capital Times Editorial: Pepper spray vs. democracy

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, July 03, 2006

Today’s Madison's Cap Times had a great editorial about the brutal attack on Ben Masel by University police last Thursday. I've heard rumors that neither the Union employees who confronted Ben and summoned police, nor the University Police officers who assaulted Ben, even knew who he was. If they had bothered to read Thursday’s Cap Times, they would have found a column by Doug Moe "MATC Incident Was Vintage Masel" click here about Ben educating MATC and winning lawsuits for similar incidents! The Union management must be spitting bricks at what a monumental blunder this was as the stars align against them.

Here’s some advice: Issue that apology posthaste, and get out the checkbook. This is Madison and the Union should have known better, not just that it was Ben, but it was what universities are supposed to be about.

Source: Capital Times
Pubdate: July 3, 2006

benmasel.jpg
(Source: Capital Times)

EDITORIAL: PEPPER SPRAY VS. DEMOCRACY

For as long as anyone can remember, candidates for public office have circulated their nominating petitions on the Memorial Union Terrace.

Packed with Wisconsinites, most of them in a mellow mood, the terrace is an ideal spot for would-be contenders to gather the signatures they need to earn a place on local and statewide ballots.

So why was one of Madison's most experienced candidates pepper-sprayed, arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for the "crime" of being on the terrace circulating petitions for his race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate?

The explanation that UW Police have offered is not reassuring.

They claim that Ben Masel was in violation of an administrative code that restricts the Memorial Union to students, staff, faculty and members, "except on occasions when, and in those areas where, the buildings or grounds are open to the general public."

But the incident involving Masel took place during a hip-hop concert that had been widely advertised off campus and in local newspapers. In other words, it was precisely the sort of event where the grounds are open to the public.

Of course, anyone who has been paying attention knows that candidates - including statewide officeholders - circulate petitions on the terrace even when concerts aren't in progress.

So the singling out of Masel is troubling. Even more troubling are the official descriptions of the incident, which do not paint an appealing picture of the actions taken by the officers involved in the incident.

If UW and Memorial Union officials are smart, they will apologize to Masel and drop the charges.

If they are really smart, they will invite him - and all other candidates who are interested in circulating nomination petitions - to gather signatures on the terrace during the period leading up to next week's filing deadline.

The University of Wisconsin campus should be a safe haven for democratic discourse and participation, not a place where candidates are pepper-sprayed and arrested.

Posted by Gary at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2006

Weedstock organizer peppersprayed, arrested

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, July 1, 2006

One would think that circulating nomination papers to get on the ballot for US Senator would not be a controversial thing at a state university where feee speech should be respected. Ben Masel found out otherwise Thursday night. The incident has ignited much outrage, particularly on local online forums. One of the better posts suggested that Masel's opponent in the September primary, US Senator Herb Kohl, come to the Union and collect signatures at the spot where Ben was maced, handcuffed and maced again. I wonder if Herb will actually personally collect any of his 2000 signatures.

Source: Baraboo News Republic
Pubdate: 1 July 2006
Author: DJ Slater

WEEDSTOCK ORGANIZER PEPPERSPRAYED, ARRESTED

MADISON - UW-Madison Police arrested Ben Masel, an activist and potential U.S. Senate candidate, around 11 p.m. Thursday at the Memorial Union Terrace while he collected signatures to place his name on the 2006 ballot.

Masel, who the police pepper-sprayed before arresting him, received citations for disorderly conduct, resisting a police officer and trespassing, and remaining after noticed to leave, all misdemeanors, said UW-Madison Police Lt. Bill Larson.

This is not the first time Masel has run into trouble with the authorities. His record of court appearances date back to 1982, however, some of those cases ended in his favor. One incident involved Masel winning a $95,000 settlement from Sauk County after police arrested him at during the 2000 Weedstock festival.

"I'll definitely be seeking charges," Masel said. "It's not a settled issue."

Around 10 p.m., Masel said, two Memorial Union managers approached him and said he couldn't solicit signatures on the property and asked him to leave. Masel said he "politely declined" and said he is allowed to collect signatures on public grounds. He said he carried a few clipboards and a large white sign throughout the night. The managers asked him to leave again a few minutes later and said they'd call police if he didn't.

Officers John McCaughtry and Michael Mansavage arrived around 11 p.m. They pepper sprayed Masel in the eyes before placing him under arrest. Masel claimed he never struggled with the officers.

"If they had said something along the lines of 'Mr. Masel, you're under arrest,' I would have put my hands behind my back and compiled," he said.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who was at the terrace, said he didn't see Masel disturbing anyone.

"I didn't feel Ben was causing any disruptions," Cieslewicz said. "I certainly didn't feel he was disrupting my evening at all. I didn't see a reason to remove him from the terrace."

Roger Vogts, assistant facilities director for the Wisconsin Union, which includes the Memorial Union and Union South, said the administration has a policy that doesn't allow people to hand out free literature, collect signatures or various similar activities in specific areas of Memorial Union.

"We don't want people coming in, going table to table, bothering people," Vogts said. This policy also applies to other food service areas at the Memorial Union. People can collect signatures in the main lobby or in front of the building facing the street, Vogts said.

Jeff Scott Olson, Masel's attorney, said Masel is innocent of any violations.

"If there is any administrative rule that prevents him from doing what he was doing, it's probably unconstitutional," Olson said.

Masel's court date is July 24, at which time he will appeal the citations. For the time being, he and Olson will attempt to reach an understanding with the university that will allow him to collect signatures before his court date.

Masel said he has 1,300 signatures, 700 shy of the 2,000 requirement to place his name on the 2006 ballot. The deadline is July 11.

- Reporter Gena Kittner contributed to this article.

Posted by Gary at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)