« September 2008 | Main | November 2008 »

October 30, 2008

New Michigan poll finds Medical Marijuana proposition gaining

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, October 30, 2008

With only 5 days to go, a poll by mid-Michigan's WILX television found a 3-point increase in support for Prop 1, to 57% for. The percentage of opposition dipped by two points.

Source: WILX News 10 TV: click here
News 10 Poll: Prop 2 Losing Ground
Posted: 6:26 PM Oct 30, 2008
Last Updated: 6:28 PM Oct 30, 2008
Reporter: Jason Colthorp

A News 10 poll shows things can change in a week when it comes to which way people will vote on Proposal Two, which would allow embryonic stem cell research.

Last week, 11 percent of voters were still undecided on Prop Two-- that number now stands at 10. That one percent of undecideds now say they would vote "no" on Prop Two if the election were held today.
That brings the total number of those against it to 44 percent, with 46 percent in favor.

The other proposal on the ballot-- medical marijuana use-- is gaining more support since last week. Fifty-seven percent are in favor of allowing people with medical conditions, like cancer and glaucoma, to grow and use marijuana. That's up three percent from last week. Thirty-six percent of voters are against Prop One-- down two percent since the last poll. Seven percent are still undecided.

(snip) Continues: click here

Posted by Gary at 05:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2008

Medical Marijuana Up North

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

While this editorial about the Michigan initiative is from an Ohio paper, the title is very appropriate to Wisconsin, where up north can mean the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. If Michigan voters follow through as polled, medical cannabis will be legal in Michigan 10 days after the Nov. 4 election!

Medical Marijuana Up North
Editorial
Source: Toledo Blade click here
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Copyright: 2008 The Blade

Michigan -- State Rep. Fulton Sheen, a Republican from the western part of Michigan, is a reliably conservative vote on most issues, from opposition to abortion to support for the National Rifle Association. Originally, he predictably regarded the idea of legalizing marijuana use for certain suffering patients as a bad one. But that was before he saw it ease the symptoms of his dying brother. "When I saw the relief it gave him, it changed my mind," he said. As a result, he will vote yes on Nov. 4 for state Proposal One.

His position is the sensible one. Proposal One will not, as opponents have sometimes falsely argued, turn Michigan into a drug supermarket, with "pot shops" on every corner. What it does do is permit doctors to prescribe marijuana use for patients with glaucoma, HIV-AIDS, cancer, and certain other conditions, provided they are first approved by the Department of Community Health. While the state would not get in the business of supplying marijuana, those approved could grow limited amounts of the drug "in an enclosed and locked facility." Qualified patients would be required to get a special ID card. Opponents concede that marijuana can have beneficial effects in some cases, notably glaucoma, but claim that any benefit can be obtained by taking the drug in pill form, something that most sufferers hotly dispute.

The fact is that smoking the drug clearly does help lessen the suffering of some patients. Over the last decade or so, medical science has been commendably moving toward a philosophy of doing all it can to alleviate pain and suffering, especially for the terminally or chronically ill; that's what the hospice movement is all about.

Proposal One would be a logical next step. Those who claim it would lead to increased drug use overlook the obvious; that marijuana use is, though illegal, highly common in our society. This proposal would merely give sufferers the ability to stay within the law. One added plus is that it is merely a ballot initiative, not a constitutional amendment, and could, if needed, be modified or even repealed later by a vote of the legislature.

We urge Michigan voters to vote YES on Proposal One.

Posted by Gary at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2008

Journal-Sentinel takes on Wisconsin's alcohol culture

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, October 26, 2008

On my recent trip to California, I noticed a striking difference in the types of businesses located near the UC-Berkeley campus versus the UW campus here in Madison. While there are numerous bars adjacent to the UW campus, the situation in Berkeley is quite different. The Berkeley campus, unlike the UW, is not surrounded by taverns.

Now, following in footsteps of Gannet Media Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has begun a five part series on Wisconsin's culture of alcohol abuse.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wasted in Wisconsin

* Drinking deeply ingrained in Wisconsin's culture click here

* Most OWI felons avoid prison click here

* One drunken driver’s tab: $365,000 click here

* Grass roots feed Tavern League’s political clout click here

* Alcohol and death collide on Highway 41 click here

Posted by Gary at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2008

New poll finds Michigan medical cannabis initiative still leading

Posted by Gary Storck
saturday, October 25, 2008

With the November 4 General Election now just 11 days away, a new poll finds the Michigan medical cannabis initiative still favored by a majority of voters.

Source: DetroitNews.com click here

(snip)

A new Detroit News-WXYZ Action News poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, finds that voters by a 54-38 margin favor the plan to allow terminally and seriously ill people to legally use marijuana if a doctor certifies the drug could ease their pain and suffering. In a mid-September poll, Proposal 1 was favored 59-37.

(snip)

Posted by Gary at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2008

Anti-Pot Diet Pill Withdrawn From The Market

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, October 24, 2008

The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Avenitis has suspended European sales of its "anti-pot" diet drug Accomplia, according to Forbes.com.

Accomplia, aka rimonabant, has been linked to serious psychiatric reactions, including suicide, aggression, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

Medical cannabis experts anticipated these problems as rimonabant works by blocking our cannabinoid receptors, which are essential to the proper function of our bodies, and that the problems caused by Accomplia are commonly treated with cannabis.

Source: Forbes.com Health Highlights: Oct. 24, 2008 click here

(snip)

Sales of Anti-Obesity Drug Acomplia Suspended in Europe

Hours after European health authorities warned doctors to stop prescribing the anti-obesity drug Acomplia (rimonabant), the drug's maker announced Thursday that it was suspending European sales, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) warned that patients who took the drug had approximately twice the risk of serious psychiatric problems.

Maker Sanofi-Aventis said Acomplia has been sold in 18 European Union countries since 2006. The company said it would immediately begin talks with nations outside the EU to suspend sales in those countries as well, the AP reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year refused to approve the drug, citing company studies that associated it with depression, anxiety and stress disorders.

In its warning Thursday, the EMEA said people taking the drug didn't need to immediately stop using it, but should consult their doctor. It also urged physicians to review the cases of anyone taking the drug.

There have been ongoing concerns about the risks of depression and suicide among patients taking Acomplia. Last year, the EMEA said the drug may be unsafe for patients also taking antidepressants, BBC News reported.

At that time, doctors were also advised not to give the drug to people with a history of major depression, and to watch for new symptoms of depression in people already taking the drug.

Between June and August 2008, BBC News reported, there were five suicides among clinical trial participants taking the drug, compared to one suicide among participants taking a placebo.

(snip)

Posted by Gary at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2008

Grand Rapids (MI) Press: Deputy drug czar will blast marijuana ballot issue in Grand Rapids stop Monday

Despite the international financial meltdown, federal authorities still feel it is an appropriate use of tax dollars to fly deputy drug czar Scott Burns into Grand Rapids Michigan to lobby against the state's Nov. 4 medical cannabis ballot initiative. With medical cannabis leading 67-25 in polling, one might have thought the drug czar might take a cue from the McCain campaign, admit Michigan is lost, and pull out.

Deputy drug czar will blast marijuana ballot issue in Grand Rapids stop Monday

by The Grand Rapids Press click here

Sunday October 12, 2008, 6:51 PM

The U.S. deputy drug czar will be in Grand Rapids Monday to campaign against an initiative on the state's Nov. 4 ballot that would legalize marijuana use for serious medical conditions such as cancer and glaucoma.

Scott Burns, named by President Bush to head the nation's drug control office in 2007, will speak at a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. He will be joined by state Court of Appeals Judge Schuette and members of the Michigan Sheriffs' Association.

Continues: click here.

Posted by Gary at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2008

Appleton Post Crescent: Claim filed over suicide in Outagamie Co. Jail

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, October 12, 2008

The family of an inmate with a traumatic brain injury, facing charges for cannabis possession and bail-jumping, has filed a $350,000 claim against the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department, alleging negligence, after the inmate took his own life.

Cannabis has been shown to be a treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury click here. This young man was likely self-medicating with cannabis to treat his injury, and was jailed for it. This is why Wisconsin sorely needs a comprehensive medical cannabis law ASAP!

Source: Appleton Post Crescent click here
Pubdate: October 12, 2008
Author: Susan Squires, Gannett Wisconsin Media

CLAIM FILED OVER SUICIDE IN OUTAGAMIE CO. JAIL

Inmate's mother accuses workers of negligence

APPLETON — A suicide victim's mother has filed a $350,000 claim against the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department, alleging jail employees' negligence resulted in her son's death.

William Ziebell, 32, Tigerton, was found hanging from a bed sheet April 28 in his cell at the Outagamie County Jail. He died at St. Elizabeth Hospital on May 3 from the injuries he suffered in the hanging.

His mother, Kim Ziebell, contends the sheriff's department should have known he was suicidal and taken precautions.

Ziebell, who was unable to post a $1,500 cash bond, had been in jail since Feb. 6 on misdemeanor drug and felony bail-jumping charges. He was arrested for possession of marijuana at Villa Hope, a center in Appleton for people with psychiatric and behavioral disorders. It was the most recent in a series of jail and hospital confinements for Ziebell, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2006.

Continues: click here

Posted by Gary at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2008

NORML Blog: Is There Anything CBD Can’t Do? Then Why Is It Illegal?

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, October 10, 2008

The cannabinoid CBD has vast therapeutic potential. But, the federal government continues to keep it illegal, despite its huge potential. Ignoring science while people suffer leaves a huge stain on our supposed democracy. National NORML offers this post about CBD and how it can help ease suffering multiple ways.

Is There Anything CBD Can’t Do? Then Why Is It Illegal?

Thursday, October 9th, 2008


While the prohibition of cannabis is absurd, the ban on the plant’s non-psychoactive components is even more mind-boggling — particularly when it’s apparent that these compounds possess amazing therapeutic properties. Case in point: cannabidiol (CBD).

A just published scientific review by Sao Paulo University (Brazil) researcher Antonio Zuardi reports that there’s been an “explosive increase” of interest in CBD over the past five years. It’s apparent why.

“Studies have suggested a wide range of possible therapeutic effects of cannabidiol on several conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral ischemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, nausea and cancer,” Zuardi writes. Let’s look at a few of these in detail, shall we?

1. Antiepileptic action
“In 1973, a Brazilian group reported that CBD was active in … blocking convulsions produced in experimental animals.”

2. Sedative action
“In humans with insomnia, high doses of CBD increased sleep duration compared to placebo.”

3. Anxiolytic action
“CBD induce[s] a clear anxiolytic effect and a pattern of cerebral activity compatible with an anxiolytic activity.”

4. Antipsychcotic action
“[C]linical studies suggest that CBD is an effective, safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenic patients.”

5. Antidystonic action
“CBD … had antidystonic effects in humans when administered along with standard medication to five patients with dystonia, in an open study.”

6. Antioxidative action
“[I]t was demonstrated that CBD can reduce hydroperoxide-induced oxidative damage as well as or better than other antioxidants. CBD was more protective against glutamate neurotoxicity than either ascorbate or a-tocopherol, indicating that this drug is a potent antioxidant.”

7. Neuroprotective action
“A marked reduction in the cell survival was observed following exposure of cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells to beta-A peptide. Treatment of the cells with CBD prior to beta-A exposure significantly elevated the cell survival.”

8. Antiinflammatory action
“CBD, administered i.p. or orally, has blocked the progression of arthritis.”

9. Cardioprotective action
“CBD induces a substantial cardioprotective effect.”

10. Action on diabetes

“CBD treatment of NOD (non-obese diabetic) mice before the development of the disease reduced its incidence from 86% in the non-treated control mice to 30% in CBD-treated mice. … It was also observed that administration of CBD to 11-14 week old female NOD mice, which were either in a latent diabetes stage or had initial symptoms of diabetes, ameliorated the manifestations of the disease.”

11. Antiemetic action
“The expression of this conditioned retching reaction was completely suppressed by CBD and delta9-THC, but not by ondansetron, [an] antagonist that interferes with acute vomiting.”

12. Anticancer action
“A study of the effect of different cannabinoids on eight tumor cell lines, in vitro, has clearly indicated that, of the five natural compounds tested, CBD was the most potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth.”

In sum, the past 45 years of scientific study on CBD has revealed the compound to be non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and to possess a multitude of therapeutic properties. Yet, to this day it remains illegal to possess or use (and nearly impossible to study in US clinical trials) simply because it is associated with marijuana.

What possible advancements in medical treatment may have been achieved over the past decades had US government officials chosen to advance — rather than inhibit — clinical research into CBD (which, under federal law, remains a Schedule I drug defined as having “no currently accepted medical use”)? Perhaps it’s time someone asks John Walters or the DEA?

Posted by Gary at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2008

NORML Marks 20 Millionth Pot Arrest: Tragic Marijuana Milestone Will Take Place This Friday

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, October 9, 2008

Reaching the milestone of 20 million cannabis arrests during a time of a global economic crisis is fitting. After all, it was the US Congress that felt it made good sense to repeatedly vote to prohibit regulation of the finance industry while at the same time hardening the federal prohibition of cannabis to even explicitly subvert state laws democratically passed by citizens or state legislatures.

They likened allowing sick people to use medical cannabis as something that would threaten "the children" and endanger our society. I think that passing on to "the children" huge federal debt, constant war and a planet in serious trouble leaves them in much worse straits than if grandma smokes a joint for her arthritis.

The only equitable and moral solution is to jettison this expensive and wasteful monster and embrace the cannabis plant and its many uses for mankind.

That is why nearly 2000 marchers circled the Wiscionsin State Capitol last Sunday. Too bad the "liberal media" did not bother to cover it, sans a couple local college papers.

NORML Marks 20 Millionth Pot Arrest: Tragic Marijuana Milestone Will Take Place This Friday

Washington, DC: Law enforcement will make its 20 millionth marijuana arrest this Friday, October 10th, according to data compiled by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and extrapolated by NORML.

The FBI provides annual marijuana arrest data dating back to 1965.

“Police have arrested 19.3 million Americans for marijuana violations in the years between 1965 and 2007 - busting a record 872,000 last year alone,” NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “At this pace, law enforcement will make their 20 millionth arrest this month, and will begin busting over one million cannabis consumers annually by 2010.”

Of those arrested, an estimated 90 percent are charged with minor marijuana possession - not trafficking, cultivation, or sale. Three out of every four arrestees are under 30 years old.

“This policy is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' resources; it destroys the lives of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and threatens the personal liberties and freedoms of all Americans,” St. Pierre said. “We've now arrested more American citizens for pot than the entire population of Massachusetts, Michigan, and Oregon combined.”

Speaking last month on C-Span, Drug Czar John Walters denied FBI data indicating that hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested each year for pot violations, claiming: "We didn't arrest 800,000 marijuana users. That's [a] lie."

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano recently responded to the Drug Czar's remarks in the Washington DC publication The Hill in an essay entitled, “How Can We Even Discuss Marijuana Policy When America's Top Drug Cop Won't Even Acknowledge The Facts?” More than 240 readers have commented on NORML's essay. Fewer than five respondents have commented in support of the criminal prohibition of cannabis.

To date, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has not responded to NORML's rebuttal, nor has it issued a retraction for the Drug Czar's statements.

In Additional News: NORML Launches Cash Contest For Best Pro-Marijuana Advertisement @ High Noon on October 10 In Recognition (and disgust) of America's 20 Millionth Marijuana Arrest. For further details or to submit a contest entry, check www.norml.org @ noon on Friday, October 10.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director.

Posted by Gary at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2008

Daily Cardinal: Marijuana enthusiasts gather at Harvest Fest

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 6, 2008

Here is the coverage by the Daily Cardinal UW student paper.

Source: The Daily Cardinal click here
Pubdate: October 6, 2008
Author: Anna Discher

MARIJUANA ENTHUSIASTS GATHER AT HARVEST FEST

The theme of this year’s Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival in downtown Madison was “Vote.”

Attendees of the 38th annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival marched from Library Mall to the Capitol Sunday.

The 38th annual Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival attracted a large crowd this past weekend in downtown Madison to celebrate a common cause: their support for the legalization of marijuana.

The festival began Friday at the Cardinal Bar with a medical cannabis benefit and continued through Sunday in Library Mall, with speakers, vendors, informational tables, displays and food carts. The festival ended Sunday with a parade to the Capitol, and a rally and concert at the Capitol Square.

This year’s theme was “Vote,” so organizers and attendees recognized the importance of getting one’s voice heard. Agua Das, of Hemp Sources, the inventor of hemp ice cream and a six-time attendee of the festival, said he thinks “hemp makes sense” and supports legalization.

“I’m pro-hemp and I vote … I’m looking for candidates who will support the hemp agriculture bill,” Das said.

Eric Miller, an advocate for the Students for Nader campaign, promotes Nader because he supports legalizing hemp. Miller believes that hemp makes economic sense because it is an easy plant to grow and is good for the environment.

Miller said there are consequences of marijuana use that directly tie to our governmental policies.

“There are more people in jail in Dane County than any other county in Wisconsin,” Miller said. “There are more people in jail in this country than any other industrialized nation, and that is not acceptable.”

Doug Daudensdeck, a volunteer from Minnesota’s national organization that works with marijuana laws, set up a stand at the festival passing out informational packets, buttons and signs promoting marijuana education.

“[Marijuana] should be legal because it is a freedom of choice,” he said.

Madison Police Department officers patrolling the area said the festival was a peaceful and positive gathering; as long as the attendees were not causing problems, they had bigger things to worry about.

Das explained the event perfectly. “This festival is not about dope, it is about hope.”

Posted by Gary at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Badger Herald: Harvest Fest participants march for smoking rights

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, October 6, 2008

Both UW student papers covered this year's Harvest Fest. Here is the Badger Herald's report.

Source: Badger Herald click here
Pubdate: Julie Strupp
Author: Monday, October 6, 2008

HARVEST FEST PARTICIPANTS MARCH FOR SMOKING RIGHTS

An enthusiastic crowd gathered under “Smoke ‘em Bucky” banners for the 38th annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival in downtown Madison last weekend to protest the prohibition of marijuana and foster solidarity among fellow dissenters.

The three-day-long festival began Friday night with a benefit concert at the Cardinal Bar and continued through the weekend. Speakers and bands vocalized their support Saturday in Library Mall to “end the war on drugs” and urged listeners to vote for change.

Madison Police Lt. Joe Balles acknowledged marijuana smoking does go on at the event, and while the protesters have every right to assemble peacefully, he noted the act is still illegal.

“Smoking at this event is illegal, just as it’s supposed to be illegal on State Street or in dormitories,” Balles said.

However, Balles said actual enforcement can be difficult because the UW football game required police attention.

“Any problems at this event will be dealt with, but we [had] a larger priority with 100,000 people coming to town for the Ohio State game,” Balles said.

On Sunday, protesters paraded from Library Mall to the Capitol to show support of legislation that legalizes — or “de-criminalizes” — marijuana.

Protesters listed a multitude of reasons as to why they thought marijuana should be legalized, including medical purposes, personal rights, helping solve global warming and stimulating the economy.

“I think they should legalize marijuana to eliminate national debt,” said Linda Ellen, a festival volunteer of 35 years. “Right now, pot sales are unregulated, but we could tax it and prison costs would also go down.”

Speakers also noted the many useful aspects of the cannabis plant. Agua Das, who runs a business that sells legal, THC-free hemp ice cream and hemp-based baked goods to health stores, said the plant provides “food, fiber, fuel and freedom.”

“Canada has had a hemp agriculture for the last seven to eight years,” said Susan Squibb, Das’ co-worker. “If their teenagers had started sitting destitute on the streets, I think [Canadians] would have done something about that law by now.”

Peter Steinburg, a leading attorney and advocate for marijuana rights in the Madison area, said one of the main reasons for marijuana being illegal is that it cuts down on social productivity.

“It would make much more sense to outlaw alcohol,” Steinburg said in his speech at the rally Saturday.

Steinburg also declared that it was “an outrage” that legalized marijuana was not part of the Democratic platform and insisted “the time to demand the end of the drug war is today.”

This year’s theme for the festival was “Vote,” which veteran organizer Ben Masel said is important in every election year, both nationally and at the state level.

“For students, we are really pushing them to vote [for a marijuana-friendly assembly] in their parents’ district,” said Masel. “While we have a friendly assembly here, we’re focusing on flipping it in other areas of Wisconsin.”

According to Masel, who was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the time, the festival first started in the fall of 1971 in response to a series of marijuana raids and has been going ever since.

Posted by Gary at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2008

Leading 67-25 in polls, Michigan medical marijuana initiative finds opponents

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Today's Detroit Free Press editorialized in favor of passing Michigan's medical cannabis ballot initiative. The same day, the Freep also reported the first signs of organized opposition to the proposition. Let's hope common sense maintains the higher ground and Michigan patients find legal relief this Nov. 4.

Source: Detroit Free Press click here
October 2, 2008

Fight against medical marijuana is on

BY Megha Satyanarayana FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Calling it a “pot dream come true for drug dealers,” state law enforcement, medical professionals and antidrug coalitions have launched a campaign to shoot down Proposal 1, the medical marijuana initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative legalizes marijuana for pain relief from chronic illness as approved by a doctor. Users would carry state identification regarding their status, and would be exempt from prosecution. Proposal 1 also allows registered users to grow marijuana.

Continues: click here


----------
Source: Detroit Free Press click here
October 2, 2008

Yes on Prop 1: Allow seriously ill people the relief marijuana may offer

If people who are seriously or chronically ill can convince their doctors that using marijuana will make them feel better, the State of Michigan should not stand in the way. Proposal 1 on the statewide ballot Nov. 4 would allow Michigan residents to cultivate and possess small amounts of marijuana for medical reasons with a doctor's approval. Voters should say yes to this proposal, which was placed on the ballot by a petition campaign that collected almost 378,000 signatures.

This is not about drug use. It's about compassion. The initiative would amend Michigan law to allow seriously ill people to seek authorization from a doctor to grow up to a dozen marijuana plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces of the weed, strictly for personal use. The continuing, regulated sale of alcoholic beverages poses more of a problem for society than will passage of this law.

Continues: click here

Posted by Gary at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2008

New Richmond News: Madison man says legalizing marijuana could solve country’s financial woes

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The New Richmond News also picked up the article from the State Journal, and it was mentioned on WI Public Radio as well.

Source: New Richmond News click here
Pubdate: 1 October, 2008

A MADISON MAN HAS HIS OWN IDEA FOR SOLVING THE COUNTRY’S FINANCIAL MESS – LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

Gary Storck co-founded Madison’s chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He says legalizing pot would bring huge money into the federal coffers just like booze did President Franklin Roosevelt ended prohibition 75 years ago.

NORML and similar groups have argued for years that the government could make a fortune if it taxed marijuana plants instead of going after those who grow and sell it.

Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project says it could bring $10-$40 billion a year to state and local governments.

Congress would have to approve the legalization.

A spokesman for Janesville’s Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, didn’t have a comment on it.

Posted by Gary at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

State Journal: Legalizing, taxing pot urged to raise cash

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008

I sent the WI State Journal a letter suggesting cannabis legalization be used to help fund the federal bailout plan. The result was an article about the idea.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal click here
Pubdate: September 30, 2008
Author: Chris Rickert

Legalizing, taxing pot urged to raise cash

President Bush and the two leading presidential contenders were urging lawmakers to take one for the good of the country Tuesday and pass a highly unpopular Wall Street bailout package.

Some drug-reform advocates, meanwhile, were suggesting that a better way out of the current financial mess would be to toke one for the country.

"Society could get a great deal of funding by bringing cannabis into our society," said Gary Storck, co-founder of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

More specifically, legalizing and taxing marijuana and industrial hemp could open up a lucrative revenue stream and help offset a $700 billion taxpayer outlay to save the country's financial system.

"Why not look at it?" said Storck, who likens the idea to President Roosevelt's support for ending prohibition during the Depression. "We need the money. How else are we going to get it?"

The possible fiscal boon of legalizing marijuana has long been an argument put forth by NORML and like-minded groups, who point to studies showing that the government could be billions of dollars to the good if it taxed the plant and ended its marijuana-related law enforcement efforts.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications with the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said legalization and regulation could mean between $10 billion and $40 billion a year to state and federal budgets.

"The bottom line is we have a very large industry in this country ... that is entirely untaxed and unregulated," he said.

Storck and Mirken said there was no organized effort by pro-marijuana groups to lobby for legalization as a way out of the current fiscal crisis, but Storck said he will be talking up the fiscal benefits of legalization at this weekend's Harvest Festival in Madison.

Mirken also said that his group's lobbyist has been talking to lawmakers about the issue and, like Storck, drawing parallels to the repeal of Prohibition during the Depression.

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee, said Ryan didn't have a comment on the suggestion that legalization of marijuana could help pay for the bailout.


Posted by Gary at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)