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August 26, 2007

More Champagne & Reefer at Orton Park

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, August 26, 2007

Like the 2006 Orton Park Festival, the 2007 fest featured a set of blues led by blues guitarist extraordinaire, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, who toured and played with the late blues icon, Muddy Waters, for many years.

One of the songs performed on many of those gigs was what Margolin refers to as Muddy’s version of the song, “My Favorite Things,” an ode to cannabis and Piper-Heidsieck entitled, “Champagne & Reefer”.

At the 2006 fest, I spoke with Margolin before the show and requested “Champagne & Reefer” and he graciously obliged click here.

On Saturday night, I asked Bob if he might do an encore and when he took the stage accompanied by an incredible group of musicians including the Cash Box Kings and Chicago blues guitarist Lurrie Bell, “Champagne & Reefer” was one of a handful of tunes played, with a nice dedication to NORML.

As with last year, the audience response was enthusiastic, as blues notes reverberated around the now 150-year old park and surrounding neighborhood into the cool Madison night.

Posted by Gary at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2007

37th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival is just around the corner!

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer's waning days in Madison means that Harvest Fest must be just around the corner. The 37th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival will be held the weekend of Fri-Sun October 5, 6 & 7, 2007. The schedule appears below!

Download Harvest Fest 37 event flier here.

37th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival Fri-Sun October 5, 6 & 7 Madison Wisconsin

Harvest Fest 37 is dedicated to Tod Mikuriya M.D. (1933-2007)

Sunday October 7
Library Mall
12:30 pm: Sloppy Joe (bluegrass, jamgrass)
Parade to Capitol 2pm
Music and Speakers on the State St. steps of the Capitol
Little Marsh Overflow (swamp funk)

Saturday October 6
Library Mall
12-6 pm

12:00 Logarhythm (rock)
1:00 Pistols at Dawn (surf rock)
2:00 Elf Lettuce (jam rock)
3:00 Tate and the 008 Band (blues)
4:00 Baghdad Scuba Review (progressive rock)
5:00 Nama Rupa (reggae, dub)

Between bands & speakers:
Special Dank Midnights (acoustic pot songs)

Plus vendors, informational tabling, likeminded people and more!

Library Mall is at State and Lake Streets in downtown Madison near the UW-Madison Library and campus.

Friday, October 5
Madison NORML presents the 5th Annual IMMLY medical cannabis Benefit
5-8 pm
Cardinal Bar
418 E. Wilson in downtown Madison.

More info: madisonnorml.org or http://www.myspace.com/madisonhempfest

Posted by Gary at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2007

Dan Bice No Quarter Column: More deputies skitter under microscope

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, August 12, 2007

In early July, I passed along a column by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's investigative reporter, Dan Bice, about how a cannabis search in Milwaukee had been judged illegal click here. I called it a victory for the 4th Amendment, but this new column from Bice reports it was more complicated than that. Why not just tax and regulate it and free up the manpower to make our streets safer?

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Pubdate: Aug. 11, 2007
Author: Daniel Bice
Column name: No Quarter click here

COLUMN: More deputies skitter under microscope

How many deputies did it take to screw up a huge drug bust by the county?

Two? Three? Even more?

There's no final tally, but the number known to be under investigation is growing.

Last month, No Quarter told you about the Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies who turned up 44 1/2 pounds of marijuana - with a street value of $30,000 - in the trunk of an Oldsmobile Aurora that had been pulled over on I-94.

The two guys in the car were arrested, and Sheriff David Clarke Jr. put out a press release in April highlighting the effort.

Now, four months later, the release remains the most prominent news item on the sheriff's Web site: "Milwaukee County Sheriff's Detectives Discover 44 1/2 lbs of Marijuana."

Except the case was snuffed out long ago.

The two men in the Oldsmobile were sprung. County prosecutors say two deputies involved in the case are not to be trusted on the witness stand again, effectively ending their careers as street cops.

And Clarke has confirmed that the same two deputies, whom he would not ID, were under internal investigation. He said the pair entered a South Milwaukee residence - home to one of the guys in the Oldsmobile - without first obtaining a warrant, a big-time no-no.

But that's only part of the story.

It turns out that six deputies, not just two, were at the residence when the illegal search occurred on April 13, according to a confidential police report. The report does not say how many of them entered the house.

But all six are now under the microscope. The Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, which is representing the officers, declined comment on the matter Friday.

"Everyone involved is part of the internal investigation," confirmed Kim Brooks, Clarke's spokeswoman.

Asked why the sheriff made mention of only two deputies, Brooks turned the focus away from her boss. "That's your misunderstanding. The sheriff asked me why you didn't obtain and read the reports that you now have before rushing to write your initial story."

Testy, testy.

In truth, the department won't release copies of the incident reports, written separately by Detectives William Theep and Luke Chang, both of whom were at the scene that night.

"I am denying you the requested material at this time, in their entirety," wrote Deputy Inspector Edward Bailey last week regarding Theep's report. Bailey said he will turn over the records only when the internal probe is finished.

But a copy of Chang's seven-page report, obtained on the Q.T., provides a detailed description of the arrests, with a little more general discussion of the subsequent visit to the South Milwaukee house.

The report says Chang and Theep were joined at the residence at 6:37 p.m. April 13 by Deputies Alex Martinez and JoAnn Donner and Detectives Outhith Latavong and Joel Streicher. Chang's report makes no mention of any deputies entering the house without permission or a warrant, as Clarke said happened.

The sheriff has said the deputies invited themselves in because, they claim, they were concerned that someone might be injured inside. He called that "a convenient excuse for circumventing the Fourth Amendment" and the reason the case went up in smoke.

But don't look for any mention of this in Chang's report. Not a word - nada.

Instead, his report skips ahead to when the girlfriend of one of the arrested men showed up at the house, which she also lived in, and belatedly granted permission for the deputies to enter.

"After Detective Theep explained our reason for being there, (she) signed a 'Consent to Search' form allowing us to search the residence," Chang wrote.

Makes it sounds like it was strictly by the book.

Once inside, the detectives found a "green plant-like substance" in the clothes dryer, a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol, a 20-gauge shotgun and packaging materials and paperwork suggesting drug trafficking, the report said.

Yes, that's quite the haul.

Too bad they didn't get a warrant first.


Posted by Gary at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2007

Letter: Bridges fail while we focus on marijuana

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Minnesota bridge tragedy was preventable. Had the bridge been properly maintained and replaced when it became structurally deficient, the collapse and all its accompanying trauma would not have happened. The problem is, bridge safety was not a priority, but targeting people for arrest and punishment for possessing prohibited plants is.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal click here
Pubdate: August 9, 2007
Author: Gary Storck


News reports say nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars is needed to fix structurally deficient U.S. bridges and highways but that states and the federal government have been unable or unwilling to come up with the money.

While ensuring the safety of our nation 's infrastructure has become a luxury we can 't afford, there is always more money to pour down the bottomless pit of marijuana prohibition. Even cancer and multiple sclerosis patients are fair game.

Thursday, Aug. 2, marked the 70th anniversary of the date President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Marijuana Tax Act into law. Ruled unconstitutional in 1969, marijuana prohibition was continued under the 1971 Controlled Substances Act.

While alcohol prohibition only lasted 14 years, marijuana prohibition is 70 and going strong. Seventy years of ceaseless reefer madness propaganda has so demonized cannabis that most elected officials stipulate to this absurd ideology without question, when taxing and regulating marijuana could solve numerous problems while generating revenue instead of wasting it.

Seventy years of lying about marijuana is too long, and it has made a mockery of American values like personal freedom and privacy, and encouraged disrespect for the law. The government should make no laws that tell us what we can or cannot put in our own bodies. Taxing and regulating marijuana is the only sensible option.

-- Gary Storck, co-founder, Madison NORML

Posted by Gary at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2007

Letter: On medical marijuana, Giuliani not willing to let states decide

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, August 6, 2007

My latest letter in the Cap Times, with which I was able to address related issues in the news, as well as the bogus psychosis link.

Source: Capital Times
Pubdate: 6 August 2007
Author: Gary Storck


Dear Editor: I had to laugh when I read Ron Brownstein's puff piece about Rudy Giuliani respecting states' rights, "On divisive issues, Giuliani says let states decide."

When it comes to states' rights, Giuliani is adamantly opposed to medical marijuana, now the law in 12 states and supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

"You can accomplish everything you want to accomplish with things other than marijuana, probably better. There are pain medications much superior to marijuana," Giuliani recently said in New Hampshire.

Perhaps the pain medications he was referring to is OxyContin. Giuliani worked for Perdue Pharmaceuticals to help clean up the mess from its recent $634 million fine for marketing the powerful narcotic in ways that have led to deaths, massive addiction, and other kinds of mayhem. Still, despite OxyContin's risks, it is useful to people in severe pain, just as cannabis is useful in treating a wide range of illness.

Another recent article, "Study links pot use to psychoses," needs clarification. This is not a new study but a review of existing science. The new British government of Gordon Brown wants to reclassify marijuana. This study, with authors being compensated by drug makers as noted in the article, is simply an attempt to provide political cover for returning to arresting rather than cautioning British pot smokers.

Paul Armentano, senior policy analyst for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Washington, explains it like this: "Claims that cannabis use is a causal factor in mental illness are far from scientifically established. At best, an observable association between cannabis use and mental illness has been established in a minority of users; however, much of this association may stem from the use of other drugs or from individuals with psychotic symptoms self-medicating with marijuana."

One definition of psychosis is, "A general term for a state of mind in which thinking becomes irrational and/or disturbed." The real problem seems to be that marijuana seems to cause psychoses and hysteria in non-users.

The result is we all lose. Madison cannot have cannabis cafes, which would offer a safer alternative to alcohol. Patients are denied legal access. Farmers and businesses are denied a crop that can be used in a wide variety of products. Now that's psychotic!

Gary Storck, co-founder, Madison NORML

Posted by Gary at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2007

The Steve Kagen of the San Francisco Bay Area

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Inside Bay Area is reporting on anger over a San Francisco Bay Area Democratic congressman, who like Wisconsin freshman Democrat Steve Kagen, voted to continue federal medical marijuana raids last week. Like Kagen, Rep. Jerry McNerney has angered supporters and is on the receiving end of a backlash after their shocking votes to arrest the sick and dying.

Like Kagen’s 51% victory over medical marijuana opponent and far right wing Republican John Gard, McNerney defeated far right wing Republican and medical marijuana opponent Rep. Richard Pombo by a 52% margin. Now both congressmen will have to deal with fighting for 2008 re-election after alienating constituents and voters on an issue that enjoys over 80% support: much more than either will ever get in their wildest dreams.

McNerney faces backlash from left
Liberal supporters disappointed with stances on troop withdrawal, medical marijuana
By Josh Richman, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 08/01/2007 05:15:26 AM PDT

Some activists and bloggers are disappointed with Rep. Jerry McNerney, who they'd supported ardently in last year's election but who now doesn't seem to live up to all of their progressive expectations.

McNerney, D-Pleasanton, last week opposed an amendment to forbid the Justice Department to spend any money to arrest and prosecute patients in states with medical-marijuana laws, such as California.

Vicki Cosgrove of Castro Valley said Saturday on the Calitics.com blog, "Jerry, I worked my ass off to get you elected. I hope you understand just how betrayed I feel at this moment." She is a grass-roots organizer for McNerney's 2004 campaign and a staffer for his 2006 campaign. Her husband is undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.

Continues: click here

Posted by Gary at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)