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December 30, 2008

WKOW TV: Wisconsin Supreme Court expands police authority to search vehicles

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The year closes with another blow to search and seizure rights under the state Constitution.

Wisconsin Supreme Court expands police authority to search vehicles

Source: WKOW TV click here

Posted: Dec 30, 2008 01:30 PM

MADISON (WKOW) -- from WI Dept. of Justice: It is lawful for police officers to search inside any container found inside the passenger compartment of a vehicle when any of the occupants is arrested, as a "search incident to arrest."

Tuesday morning, the Wisconsin Supreme Court expanded the scope of such searches to objects or containers found outside the vehicle in close proximity to it.

"Here, Pepin police conducted a classic search incident to arrest," says Van Hollen. "I'm pleased that the Wisconsin Supreme Court recognized the need to protect both officer safety and the possible destruction of evidence."

In November 2004, Jordan Denk was a passenger in a car stopped on a rural county road late at night in Pepin County.

A police officer on routine patrol stopped to see if the occupants needed assistance.

The officer smelled the strong odor of burning marijuana coming from inside the car and ordered the occupants out.

The driver was found to be carrying drug paraphernalia, admitted having marijuana on his person, and was arrested.

The officer then went over to the passenger side of the vehicle where Denk was standing and saw the eyeglasses case on the ground just outside the passenger's door.

Denk stated that the case was his and placed it on top of the car.

The officer looked inside and found a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine.

Denk was placed under arrest, and additional drugs and paraphernalia were found in his clothing.

Denk was charged with multiple drug crimes in Pepin County Circuit Court.

Denk asked the court to suppress the evidence, arguing that the initial search of the eyeglasses case was unlawful.

Under existing law the eyeglasses case could have been searched if it had been found in the car, but not if it had been on Denk's person, unless the officer had reason to fear that Denk was armed.

The judge denied the motion to suppress, and Denk plead no contest to the charge of felony possession of methamphetamine.

Denk was sentenced to five months in the county jail as a condition of probation, and appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to decide the case because the issue might involve the creation of new law.

The Supreme Court accepted the case, and today decided that the eyeglasses case found outside the car should be treated the same as containers found inside the car, and was lawfully searched.

The Court's reasoning was that the same policy considerations of protecting the safety of the officer and preventing the destruction of the evidence apply whether the eyeglasses case was found inside the car or in close proximity outside of it.

Posted by Gary at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2008

Michigan’s new rules need revision, say medical marijuana advocates

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Michigan Agency tasked with regulating the state's new medical cannabis law is tampering with the will of Michigan voters, according to state advocates. Marijuana prohibition is ingrained deep, and the hard attitudes of some prohibitionists apparently remain unchanged despite the passage of Prop 1. While the law has changed, the struggle continues.

State’s new rules need revision, say medical marijuana advocates

Source: Michigan Messenger: click here

By Eartha Jane Melzer 12/24/08 8:25 AM

Advocates say the state’s plan for administering a new medical marijuana law, approved by state voters on Nov. 4, focuses too much on law enforcement concerns and not enough on health.

Michigan’s medical marijuana law–which passed in every county while winning 63 percent of the vote–allows people with qualifying medical conditions to grow 12 marijuana plants and/or possess 2.5 oz. of marijuana for medicinal use. Those who use marijuana medicinally may also designate a caregiver to grow the drug for them. The mood-altering plant relieves chronic pain and nausea.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has proposed rules for the program a scheduled hearing of those rules takes place 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 5, at the state secondary complex general office building in Lansing.

Patient advocates say they see many shortcomings in the proposed rules.

“I think they were written by people who don’t have a clear idea of how something like this would work,“ said Greg Francisco, director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), an education and advocacy group for patients and caregivers. “I think they [MDCH] took on some responsibilities and roles that were not given in the law.”

The rules suggest the state envisions its role as one of law enforcement, not administering a public health program, Francisco said, adding that MMMA has compiled 21 concerns with the draft rules which it will air at the Jan. 5 hearing.

One problem, Francisco said, is a requirement that caregivers or patients provide detailed cultivation records and track where each and every plant goes.

“This is akin to telling a farmer who grows beets he must track which beet goes to which processing facility,” he said.

The MDCH proposed rules require that any marijuana leftover when a patient no longer qualifies or dies be handed over to police–something Francisco said is unreasonable. Because medical marijuana remains illegal under federal law, he suggested that patients and caregivers might be hesitant to provide police with evidence by handing over excess marijuana.

MMMA has proposed that this provision be removed or modified to say that the caregiver or patient may provide the marijuana to another registered patient, may destroy it or may hand it over to law enforcement for destruction.

The rule also imposes an unfair double standard, Francisco said. “With other controlled substances, such as morphine and oxycontin, there is no requirement that these be turned over to law enforcement.”

Another burdensome rule, according to Francisco, is that if a patient designates a caregiver he or she must list all the other patients served by that caregiver.

Francisco described this provision as an invasion of privacy and unnecessary.

“This would be like me going to get a prescription filled and having to give the pharmacist a list of everyone else who got this prescription.”

And because all patients and caregivers must be licensed with the state anyhow, he said, the requirement is unnecessary.

Francisco said rumors are circulating that opponents of medical marijuana want to revise the state’s rules so that registered medical marijuana users would be required to wear a special medic alert bracelet.

Sgt. Tom Deasy of the Michigan State Police Executive Division said state police are not pursuing a bracelet requirement.

“The act is pretty clear about wanting to ensure some level of privacy, and [requiring bracelets] would seem to contradict that,” Deasy said.

He predicted the state police officials, now reviewing the new rules, would not seek major changes.

“If we have any suggested changes, it won’t be anything substantial,” he said, “Overall we do not have any substantial problems.”

The spread of medical marijuana, now allowed in 13 states, seems to be part of a growing interest in reforming drug laws.

More than a dozen of the top 50 questions submitted in the past month to the incoming Obama administration’s website, change.gov, have pertained to drug law reform.

Posted by Gary at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2008

Editorial: Allow marijuana for medical use in N.J.

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Monday's 6-1 New Jersey state senate health committee vote for medical cannabis seems to have inspired an outpouring of support. Not only has Gov. Jon Corzine urged the entire legislature to move quickly and pass the bill so he can sign it, but state newspapers are now editorializing in support. The day is coming very soon when Cheryl Miller's efforts in New Jersey will finally pay off. While they will be too late for her, thousands and thousands of other patients will not have to face what she did.

Source: CourierPostOnline.com click here
December 21, 2008

Allow marijuana for medical use in N.J.

Drug has been proven effective in treating some medical conditions and should be legal to use for those patients.

New Jersey lawmakers took a key step toward allowing those suffering with cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other conditions to legally use marijuana to relieve their pain.

Last week, the state Senate's Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, by a 6-1 vote, approved the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

Legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes remains controversial in part because it runs counter to federal drug laws regarding marijuana, and also because there are many people who do not want to see any door opened toward legalizing drugs.

However, there is overwhelming documentation and heartfelt testimony from people from all walks of life who have lived in tremendous pain and say that marijuana, more than any other medicine, helps reduce their pain, take away their nausea, clear up their vision, stop their muscle spasms, etc. These people are not drug abusers; they're regular Americans who are just desperate to live without the pain of often incurable diseases and conditions.

Who are we, and who is the government, to stop people from alleviating their suffering?

Thirteen states -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- allow people, with a doctor's consent, to possess small amounts of marijuana and/or grow marijuana plants for their personal medicinal use.

The law New Jersey proposes would be similar. The state Department of Health and Senior Services would register people with debilitating conditions such as HIV, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, etc. and issue them a photo identification card. They would be able to possess as many as "six marijuana plants and an ounce of usable marijuana." The law would bar them from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana or from smoking in many public areas.

At the committee hearing in Trenton on Monday, Joyce Nalepka, president of the national organization Drug Free Kids: America's Challenge, worked to convince lawmakers that legalizing medical marijuana would make children and young adults more aware of marijuana and that using it is acceptable. State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, was dead on in his response: "I think our youth are pretty much aware of marijuana today. I think we are kidding ourselves if we don't think that," Whelan said.

The fact is, the same laws and penalties we have for criminal marijuana use and distribution can be kept in place and enforced just as they are now.

But people who are in pain, some in their last days, deserve to be able to take whatever medicine works to help them. For certain conditions, marijuana has shown itself time and again to be a powerful medicine. There's no reason for New Jersey or any other government to stand in the way of people looking to ease their suffering.

We don't ban OxyContin or Percocet altogether because some people abuse those medicines and use them just to get high. Why? Because OxyContin and Percocet help many people with real medical condidtions. For the same reason, marijuana should be legalized strictly for medical use.

Posted by Gary at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2008

Patients Out of Time Press Release on new civil complaint against feds on medical cannabis

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm honored to be on the advisory board of the great medical cannabis advocacy group, Patients Out of Time. Here is a new press release from them regarding a civil complaint Carl Olsen has filed against the federal government over the denial of medical cannabis access.

For Immediate Release:

Ever wonder why the federal government still classifies marijuana as a substance with no accepted medical use in the United States?

Over the past 12 years, 13 States in the United States have enacted laws accepting the medical use of marijuana. Isn't that the same "accepted medical use" the federal drug law refers to?

Patients Out of Time Board of Advisors member Carl Olsen was curious enough to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but got no response. So, Carl filed a civil complaint in federal court against the U.S. Attorney General; Carl Olsen v. Michael Mukasey, No. 4:08-cv-370, United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.

It seems the voters in Oregon approved an assisted suicide law in 1997, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and the DEA tried to tell them it was illegal. The State of Oregon filed a civil complaint against the DEA, and it ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said the DEA was stepping on Oregon's turf and told the DEA to back off.

Carl thinks the same thing is true with state medical marijuana laws. When the federal law was written, it was certainly true that marijuana had no currently accepted medical use in the United States. However, Congress entrusted the DEA with the responsibility of making sure the federal drug law was updated annually to catch any change that might occur.

Well, that change has occurred and the DEA has failed to do anything about it. The DEA never planned on changing it anyway. Who's watching the DEA to make sure they do their job?

American citizens are considered the luckiest people in the world, not because of our wealth, but because we are actually supposed to have a say in what our government does. Carl is showing us that one citizen can question the federal bureaucracy.

Carl keeps detailed records of everything that is going on at his web site: http://www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org/ so he hopes you'll stop by and take a look.

(1) www.medicalcannabis.com

(2) www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org

Carl Olsen
Iowans for Medical Marijuana
(515) 288-5798

Al Byrne,Co-founder
Patients Out of Time
(434) 263-4484

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, CLNC
President and Co-founder
Patients Out of Time
1472 Fish Pond Rd.
Howardsville, VA 24562
434-263-4484 434-263-6753 fax

Posted by Gary at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)

December 17, 2008

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine says he would sign medical marijuana legislation

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Will New Jersey become the 14th medical cannabis state? The state's governor, Jon Corzine, has reiterated that he would sign a bill if it gets to his desk. Corzine originally had promised to sign a bill when first running for office when he and GOP candidate, Doug Forrester, both on a live call-in radio show, were asked by caller Jim Miller. Forrester went first and stated he would sign, and Corzine then answered yes too.

Corzine says he would sign medical marijuana legislation

Source: The Press of Atlantic City Media click here
By DEREK HARPER Statehouse Bureau
Published: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TRENTON - Gov. Jon S. Corzine said Tuesday that he supports and would sign a bill allowing medicinal marijuana use, but added that economic issues are his top priority.

"I don't think that we ought to be having fights on issues that don't go to the heart of the needs of a broad majority of folks," Corzine told reporters Tuesday afternoon. "I think that this is one that if it can be moved expeditiously because there's a consensus, I think that's great. I have studied the issue and I think that if properly structured, it's an initiative that's sensible."

The Compassionate Use Medicinal Marijuana Act would allow state-licensed patients to possess as much as 1 ounce of marijuana and six plants for medical treatment. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, and Nicholas Scutari, D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union, also would create Medicinal Marijuana Alternate Treatment Centers.

The possession and distribution of marijuana would remain illegal under federal law, but advocates said it would essentially decriminalize that, because most prosecutions are under state laws.

The state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved the bill by a 6-1 vote Monday. It now faces a full Senate vote. While it has been discussed in General Assembly committees, a vote has not been scheduled. Thirteen other states have similar laws.

Posted by Gary at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2008

Medical marijuana wins approval from New Jersey Senate committee

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, December 12, 2008

Jim Miller reports that Cheryl's name was cited repeatedly today as the New Jersey State Senate's Health committee heard testimoy then voted 6-1 with 2 abstentions to send the state's compassionate use medical marijuana bill to the full Senate for a vote in the first-ever modern day vote on a NJ medical cannabis bill!

Source: Star Ledger: click here

Medical marijuana wins approval from Senate committee

Posted by mdowling December 15, 2008 13:15PM

A Senate committee today approved a bill that would regulate the sale and use of medical marijuana for seriously, chronically-ill patients.

Over the objections of family rights groups and attorneys who warned the bill sends a conflicting message to kids, lawmakers said they were moved to support the bill by the compelling personal testimony.

Photo Caption: TONY KURDZUK/THE STAR-LEDGER Walking with the assistance of canes from the effects of their multiple sclerosis, Nancy Fedder of Hillsborough (left) and Elise Segal of Wenonah get up after giving testimony in support of the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act before the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee at the State House today. Both women testified that marijuana works better to relieve their pain than any of the prescription drugs they have taken.

Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) cited the testimony of one man who said the pain from multiple sclerosis prevents him from playing with his kids, ages 3, 8 and 9.

"There is too much pain, too much hurt, and too much suffering, and we can do something about it," Baroni said.

The bill would allow patients with a written recommendation by their doctor to possess six plants and one ounce of usable marijuana and be free of the threat of state prosecution. The bill also calls upon the state health department to regulate who grows the plant and who is permitted to smoke it.

"When all other avenues of currently-approved pain relief have been exhausted, we need to give doctors the freedom to prescribe medical marijuana to give their patients a measure of comfort and dignity in the face of their debilitating diseases," said Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), one of the bill's prime sponsors.

The 6 to 1 vote with two abstentions in the Senate Health Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee means the bill moves to the full Senate for a vote when Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) decides to post it.

The Assembly has yet to act on the bill (S119).

Posted by Gary at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2008

Michigan’s first medical marijuana clinic opens in Southfield

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Michigan's medical cannabis law moves closer to implementation with the opening of a clinic to screen patients. Medical cannabis is real now in Michigan. Are Wisconsinites ready to roll up their sleeves and demonstrate to our state lawmakers that Wisconsinites want their reps to pass a law like Michigan's? It will take everyone's help. Start by letting your newly elected or reelected state representatives and senators that you support passage of medical cannabis legislation in Wisconsin!

Source: C & G News.com click here
Published: December 11, 2008
Author: Jennie Miller


SOUTHFIELD — The first medical marijuana clinic in the state of Michigan opened Dec. 4 in Southfield, following the controversial proposal voters approved last month making the drug legal in the state for medical purposes.

Run by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore., the clinic currently has two licensed physicians on staff.

The Southfield clinic joins 17 others in the country run by THCF: four in Oregon, four in Washington state, three in Colorado, three in Hawaii, one in Nevada, one in California and one in Montana. Thirteen states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

“We’ve helped over 45,000 patients in eight states now, including Michigan since we opened up there last Thursday,” said Paul Stanford, president, founder and CEO of THCF. “We plan on expanding to other cities in Michigan.”

Prospective patients are advised to contact the clinic by phone and have their primary care physician provide medical records.

“We require they have medical records from another doctor and be under another doctor’s treatment,” Stanford explained. “All of our patients have to have another current relationship with either an M.D. or a D.O. to meet their medical needs.”

After the medical records have been reviewed, the patient meets with a nurse or doctor at the clinic for a non-invasive physical examination.

If it is determined that the patient meets the criteria and could benefit from the use of medical marijuana, a prescription will be provided, as well as an identification card that registers the patient in the program and the appropriate documentation needed to submit to the state.

Twenty-five patients were seen by a physician on the first day of the clinic’s operation in the Southfield Town Center. Two additional patient days will be held in December, and another two are scheduled in January.

“As those days fill up, we’ll add more days,” Stanford said.

But marijuana is not provided by the clinic.

“We explicitly do not distribute marijuana itself,” Stanford said. “We don’t have anything to do with the procurement. We cannot assist in the procurement in any way.”

According to the new law, a patient who has been prescribed medical marijuana by a licensed physician can purchase, possess and/or cultivate up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana or 12 plants.

“For a patient who is authorized to have medical marijuana, they can purchase it on the black market,” Sanford said. “The people who are selling it are breaking the law. It can be dangerous. But there are a number of organizations out there that are currently being set up to help patients. We cannot directly provide them or help them obtain cannabis, but there are a number of resources in the community that they can pursue.”

Sixty percent of THCF’s patients across the country suffer from some sort of chronic pain, said Stanford, adding that in 30-40 percent of the chronic pain cases, the patients also have severe muscle spasms, seizures, cancer, AIDS, glaucoma or severe nausea.

“Cannabis is a very safe and effective medicine for a variety of ailments,” Sanford said. “What we find overwhelming is that our chronic pain patients are able to get off of large quantities of debilitating narcotics that they’re on and improve their quality of life through the use of cannabis. And they don’t have to be subjected to the high associated with marijuana to get the relief, through the use of the leaf instead of the flower.”

But not everyone feels so positive about the passage of the proposal in Michigan.

“I am not happy the (proposal) passed,” said Southfield City Councilman Myron Frasier. “But the vote passed and that’s the law now and I expect that they will follow the law. … That’s the one thing about voting: The majority wins and the losers have to understand that they did their best but they came out the losers. But I’m also not happy that we happen to be the first place in the state they opened up one of these clinics.”

City Council President Don Fracassi had a lot of questions with regard to the operation of the clinic and others like it.

“I opposed the issue to begin with,” Fracassi said. “But it was approved, and I don’t know how they’re going to regulate it. I don’t know how they’re going to tell who’s got pain and who doesn’t. Is it people who have no hope and are just suffering from pain? Or is it people who are hurt and are doing this instead of taking an aspirin? Is it the medical profession seeking other ways to make more money? I don’t know. I’m just against the whole thing. There is enough medication out there to serve the purpose. I think it’s going to be misused. I don’t see there’s enough controls.”

The city is going to conduct research to learn how to handle the operation of the clinic.

“We can go to other states that have passed the marijuana law and find out how they deal with it so we aren’t trying to invent the wheel all over again,” Frasier said. “We’ll take advantage of what’s already out there and find out the good things they’ve done to help control it and that will get us years ahead rather than try to find out on our own.”

Fracassi has every confidence that the Southfield Police Department has the situation covered.

“I expect the Police Department to follow all the regulations, rules and laws, and they will do that to the utmost,” Fracassi said. “Any violations to the law the Police Department will take care of it.”

For more information about the clinic, visit www.thc-foundation.com/michigan.
You can reach Staff Writer Jennie Miller at jmiller@candgnews.com or at (586) 279-1108.

Posted by Gary at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

Column: Prohibition never has worked

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, December 11, 2008

The chairman of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, Jim Maas, penned this OPED for the Wausau Daily Herald.

Source: Wausau Daily Herald click here.
Pubdate: December 11, 2008
Author: Jim Maas


This month marks 75 years since America repealed its disastrous alcohol Prohibition. Toast!

Prohibition was the work of the early 20th century progressives' grand social engineering agenda. It failed miserably.

The great social critic, H.L. Mencken, wrote of prohibition: "Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: They have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished."

Sounds strangely familiar. But there's one positive thing we can say about alcohol prohibition: At least it was constitutional.

Congress understood that the federal government hasn't the constitutional authority to issue a national ban on booze without changing the Constitution. When America repealed Prohibition, it was with a constitutional amendment, recognizing that the power to regulate alcohol is reserved for the states.

Contrast that with drug policy, in which Congress made no attempt to comply with the Constitution in passing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which gave us our current version of Prohibition. When it became clear that alcohol Prohibition had failed, it was repealed. The drug war has failed, but our government merely claims more powers to fight it more aggressively.

Drug prohibition has been every bit the failure alcohol Prohibition was - and then some. Nearly 40 years after the CSA passed, 400,000 Americans are in prison for nonviolent drug crimes; domestic police forces resemble an occupying military force; nearly $1 trillion is spent on enforcement, both here and through aggressive interdiction efforts overseas; and urban areas can resemble war zones. Yet illicit drugs such as cocaine and marijuana are as cheap and abundant as they were in 1970. The street price of both drugs has actually dropped.

Drug use violations are the most frequent arrest offenses in the United States. Consequences are brutal. Half a million Americans are incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails for nonviolent drug law violations, helping our nation become No. 1 in the number of citizens behind bars. With 5 percent of the world's population, the United States houses 25 percent of the world's prisoners.

Are Americans really that bad? 751 prisoners per 100,000 population exceeds the incarceration rate of all other countries on the planet. Wisconsin holds 605 prisoners per 100,000, in the top 20 of the states. Why?

Prison numbers are largely due to the insane policy of drug Prohibition, which persecutes people who insist upon using substances which the government has arbitrarily declared illegal. The other reason is the lengthy sentences in America, often several times those seen in other Western countries. Yet, we are told we must again expand the capacity of the jails.

If logic, reason, law, or compassion can't persuade legislators to reconsider their prejudices, perhaps a deep recession will. The economy helped hasten the repeal of Prohibition 75 years ago. How badly does Marathon County want to see nonviolent drug users in the slammer?

The War on Drugs is America's longest war. It is long past time to call a truce. We have more important issues to deal with. If you agree, let your elected representatives know that.

Jim Maas of Rothschild is chairman of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin.

Posted by Gary at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2008

Detroit News: LANSING: State starts up treatment Web site

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Michigan patients must be feeling absolutely giddy with relief as the state's new medical cannabis program takes shape.

Detroit News click here
December 9, 2008

LANSING: State starts up treatment Web site

The state launched its Medical Marijuana Program Web site Monday to coincide with the proposal that voters approved last month. The site is www.michigan.gov/mmp.

A public hearing on proposed rules for the program is to be heldat 9 a.m. Jan. 5 in Lansing, in Conference Room A at the State Secondary Complex, General Office Building, 7150 Harris Drive. Public comments about the rules can be sent to the Department of Community Health, Bureau of Health Professions, Lansing, 48909-8170, attn: Desmond Mitchell, Departmental Analyst, or at dmitch@michigan.gov, until 5 p.m. Jan. 9. Those who need special assistance should call 517-335-1341.

Posted by Gary at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2008

Sheboygan Press: Guest Editorial: Medical marijuana is worth study

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, December 8, 2008

Today's Sheboygan Press contains a guest editorial click here, the editorial the Green Bay Press Gazette published on Nov. 8 click here. My unpublished reply to that editorial?: click here.

Posted by Gary at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2008

Detroit Free Press: Michiganders Go to Clinic Seeking Pot to Dull Pain

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, December 6, 2008

How joyous it is to read of medical cannabis patients who are now protected under Michigan's new law. The new clinic is located in the Detroit suburbs. In a few short months, the program will be underway and these patients will have cards. If this can happen in Detroit, it surely can happen here!

Source: Detroit Free Press (MI) click here
Pubdate: Fri, 5 Dec 2008
Copyright: 2008 Detroit Free Press
Author: Tammy Stables Battaglia, Free Press Staff Writer
The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation Medical Clinics' new location in Southfield click here

Michiganders Go to Clinic Seeking Pot to Dull Pain

Doctors There to Give OK

Getting high was the furthest thing from their minds as some of Michigan's first legal medical marijuana users lined a Southfield waiting room Thursday.

But they all shared one thing: pain.

"I pray it helps the pain like they say," said diabetic cancer patient Renee Collinsworth, 48, of Croswell. She is hoping to dull the pain from a 1986 motorcycle accident in Ferndale. "It's not all about smoking it, either."

Michigan became the 13th state to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat debilitating illnesses after voters approved it in November. A licensed physician must grant approval before patients can use the otherwise illegal drug.

The patients waiting in the Southfield office either wouldn't or couldn't get approval from their regular doctor. So they were at the opening of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation Medical Clinics' new location in Southfield. THCF Medical Clinics, a nonprofit headquartered in Oregon, employs seven doctors in eight states solely to sign off on medical marijuana use.

"If a patient's personal care physician is unwilling to sign off on their registration application packet, we have one that will," Brian Schreckinger, a spokesman for the group, said Thursday. Schreckinger, 28, said he became involved in the cause after excruciating pain from breaking his ankle skateboarding kept him up at night.

"Sometimes I'd be complaining I'd just want my foot chopped off," he said.

John Smith, 33, of Monroe was trying to find relief from back pain stemming from a 1998 car accident. And he doesn't want to use painkillers anymore.

"I've seen so many people dying on pills," he said. "And that's all the doctors push on you is the pills.

"Sometimes I think it's in my head, and they're just keeping me doped up on pills."

Charles Synder III, 31, of Flint suffers from Nail Patella Syndrome, a hereditary condition that causes kidney issues and painful bone defects.

"When I use cannabis, it doesn't take it 100% away," said Snyder, who collected signatures to help put a measure legalizing medical use of marijuana on the November ballot. "It doesn't put me in a zombie-like state like OxyContin."

Eric Eisenbud, a licensed ophthalmologist, examined each of the patients Thursday. He interviewed them, reviewed their medical records, checked their blood pressure and listened to their heart before handing out authorizations.

Eisenbud said he joined the practice looking for more fulfillment than he was finding in practicing ophthalmology. At the clinic, "I see those patients every day that make me feel that I'm doing a worthwhile endeavor," Eisenbud said.

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

December 05, 2008

75th anniversary of the repeal of alcohol prohibition today

Posted by Gary Storck
December 5, 2008

Like many German immigrants, my German immigrant ancestors opened a brewery in Slinger, Wisconsin in the 1880's, back when the town was still known as Schleisingerville.

When Prohibition took effect in Wisconsin, some breweries produced "near beer". At Storck, a decision was made to convert to producing ice cream. But prohibition did not sit well with people whose German culture included a love for beer. While ostensibly producing ice cream, these earlier Storcks continued to brew beer:

In reality, Prohibition did not completely shut down Storck's brewing operations in 1919. As the children ate ice cream and played outside the factory, their fathers drank real beer out of the shiny copper mugs that hung in Rathskeller. The Storck family and their employees knew exactly what to do anytime a stranger visited the plant. Real beer was easily discharged from the Rathskeller and the tapper was quickly hidden inside the Rathskeller's wall. No trace of beer was ever seen.

Henry Storck took daring chances during Prohibition. The beer aged in the tanks stored among the ice cream manufacturing equipment. Raymond Storck cautiously ran beer to Hartford on a weekly basis. He would remove the back seat from his car and place two half-barrels of beer inside the seat, cover the barrels with a plaid blanket while making deliveries.

Storck brewers relax with the family brew

Some time in 1922, Chicago mobsters paid Henry Storck a visit. The mobsters, with the help of one Chicago Prohibition Officer, turned the Storck's business into a distillery and made hard liquor for the Milwaukee and Chicago markets. They told Henry to keep his family and workers away from the brewery for three weeks. After the three weeks were over, the mobsters removed their distillery equipment and informed Henry that the building was ready to manufacture ice cream again. Henry and Ray returned to the brewery to find that everything was undisturbed and no trace of the distilling operation was evident.

Henry Storck continued to brew real beer throughout most of Prohibition. Storck was Milwaukee's chief source of real beer for seven years. Several times, Prohibition Officers paid Storck a visit hoping to catch them, but were unsuccessful. It wasn't until 1926 when Storck's illegal operation became too well known and finally caught up with them.

An assortment of Storck brewerriana from my collection

Henry Storck had applied for a brewery license several times during the early 1920s. He was refused each time. When he applied for a license in 1926, he was refused again, based on alleged delinquencies in 1922. A Prohibition agent visited the plant on a regular basis, interrupting Storck's production of ice cream. Henry asked the federal courts for an injunction restraining the Prohibition agent from interrupting Storck's legitimate activities. A temporary injunction was granted and a hearing was pending on March 6, 1926, but was postponed to allow the District Attorney to gather more evidence.

On Sunday, March 7, 1926, Storck Products Company was finally raided by two Chicago special Prohibition agents. The agents had been on lookout the entire night for beer trucks moving between Milwaukee and Slinger. Shortly after five o'clock, three trucks loaded with empty beer barrels proceeded by a scout car drove to the loading platform at the brewery. The Prohibition agents, in a touring car, swooped down upon the scene and placed the drivers and Henry Storck under arrest. The Prohibition agents confiscated 2,348 gallons of 3.35 percent alcohol beer contained in 20 full barrels, 98 half barrels, 16 one-quarter barrels, and two pony barrels. The brewery was immediately padlocked and Henry was released the following day after posting a $500 bond. The confiscated beer was dumped down the sewer on Tuesday, March 9, 1926.

--- excerpted from Slinger's Very Own - Storck Brewing Company American Breweriana Journal, July-August 1995 by Otto Tiegs

While Storck Brewery reopened after repeal took effect on December 5, 1933, it never truly recovered from the blow dealt by prohibition, and was further hindered by ingredient shortages during World War 2. It eventually folded in the 1950's, another piece of a once rich immigrant culture gone.

As Cannabis Prohibition suppresses the cannabis culture, alcohol prohibition was a suppression of immigrant culture and a product of the same anti-German sentiment during the first World War that persuaded civic leaders to rename the town with the more American sounding name of Slinger.

America's failed attempt at alcohol prohibition was mercifully short. It only took a few years for many even ardent prohibitionists to change sides.

Today, cannabis prohibition, in its 71st year, seems intractable. But, cracks have been appearing in its once impenetrable facade for many years, and like alcohol prohibition in 1933, the tipping point may be near. Prohibition as an idea is at odds with not only human nature but also the American spirit. We all had ancestors who defied alcohol prohibition just like the mass disregard for the foolish and racist laws prohibiting marijuana today.

There is no defense for maintaining the monster of cannabis prohibition. America cannot truly be America as long as it persists, and President-elect Obama and Congress should seize this moment to put an end to this counterproductive wasteful injustice. It's time to end the sanctimony and face reality.

Posted by Gary at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2008

Shepherd Express: Are Marijuana Laws Changing to Keep Up with Public Opinion?

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here is the main article from the Shepherd Express.

Source: Shepherd Express click here
Pubdate: Wednesday, December 3,2008
Author: Lisa Kaiser

Are Marijuana Laws Changing to Keep Up with Public Opinion?

A Shepherd Q&A with High Times editor David Bienenstock

People have been smoking pot ever since they discovered that sparking one was good clean fun. So why do we need The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook, published just in time for the holidays? Editor David Bienenstock explains that even an experienced stoner could learn a few things-as well as get involved in the larger marijuana movement to make pot smoking legal, especially for those who are chronically ill.

In this Shepherd Q&A, Bienenstock also discusses President-elect Barack Obama's proposed drug policy changes, why Wisconsin should join the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana, and some of the best things to do when you're stoned.

Shepherd: Why did you decide to write an official High Times pot smoker's handbook? Are you saying that we've been doing it wrong all of these years?

Bienenstock: The best answer I can give you is that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, a student at Oxford University, and he didn't even know he should inhale. So I think even the most well-seasoned smoker could stand to learn something new.

Shepherd: The war on drugs wasn't discussed much during this presidential campaign. But will Obama's drug policy differ from Bush's?

Bienenstock: Yes. Short answer, yes. Whether or not it's going to be "change you can breathe in" is yet to be determined. But we've gone from one of the worst administrations on everything you can imagine, including drug policy, to at least a chance to go in a new direction. I can't say what Obama is going to do. But what he's promised to do already in the short term is to have the federal government get off the backs of the states that have approved medical marijuana. And that in and of itself would be a huge change in our policy.

Shepherd: You're referring to the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said that the federal government has a right to prohibit state-level medical marijuana programs because they interfere with interstate commerce. But that decision doesn't make any sense to me. Does it make sense to you?

Bienenstock: It made sense to me in that you have a Supreme Court that decided what they wanted their decision to be and then they tortured logic until they found a way to get there. The court admitted that this woman [Angel Raich] was chronically ill. They admitted that marijuana may help her. And they decided that one woman growing a plant on her own property and consuming it herself constitutes interstate traffic and that the federal government has jurisdiction.

The government's justification for that is to say that if she hadn't grown it herself in her own back yard, she might have decided to buy some marijuana on the open market. And even if she bought it in California from someone who grew it in California, there's a national market in it, and therefore that's going to reduce the overall market-you can see where this is going. It makes no sense. They're saying, "Even though we don't want this market to exist, we're going to regulate it."

It's just an excuse for the federal government to thwart the will of the people of California. That should end on Jan. 20. Obama has been unequivocal in saying that. He's said that many times and he hasn't gone back on that promise. It's something that will be easier for him to do. It's easier to create inaction than to really roll up your sleeves and fundamentally change the system. But it'll be a huge start.

Shepherd: That was a Supreme Court decision, so doesn't the president have to abide by it?

Bienenstock: He is appointing the attorney general, who is the top law enforcement agent in the United States. It is about priorities. Now, 13 states have medical marijuana laws, with Michigan being the most recent. But Obama is not allowing California to be a lawless state. He's saying the federal government is going to respect a state's laws. This is a states' rights issue. This is where you see the hypocrisy of-I don't want to say just Republicans, because there's enough hypocrisy to go around when it comes to our pot laws-but to have a party that wants to talk about states' rights and the freedom of individuals as their core beliefs and then to say that we want the big bad federal government to bust a chronically ill woman because she grew a plant on her property, it's frankly bullshit.

Obama doesn't need a new law to do this. He needs to give the federal government a new set of priorities. One of those priorities is to respect California law. That doesn't mean that the DEA wouldn't get involved if you were growing non-medical marijuana and thousands of pounds of it. It just means that if it's OK with California, then the federal government is not going to get involved. That's something you can do without a new law and going to Congress. You just give your attorney general new priorities and new instructions.

Shepherd: You just mentioned Michigan, where voters approved a medical marijuana program on Nov. 4. How were they able to pass it?

Bienenstock: Through the ballot initiative process, which is the same way that Prop 215 passed in California [in 1996]. There have been other states where the state legislature has taken up this issue. This is an issue where the government has not been enacting the will of the people, which is why this initiative process has been created in states. This passed with 63% of the vote in Michigan. Obviously if something is that popular, then the question is, "Why isn't the state legislature taking up this measure?" And that's where you see people saying that this is what they want and then putting it on the ballot. There was plenty of spirited opposition. But in the end, people know what they want. And people in America recognize that medical marijuana really does help people and they're willing to push their government in the right direction, which is a great sign.

Shepherd: Wisconsin legislators have introduced medical marijuana bills in the past, but they've always been blocked by Republican legislators. Now Democrats control the Legislature. What can you say to these Democrats to get them to act?

Bienenstock: The best thing I could say to them is that I can understand why state legislators would be hesitant to get involved in this because we had a federal government that said we don't care what law you make, we're going to come in to bust anybody at any time because we don't recognize medical marijuana. Your law doesn't mean shit. So it's difficult for a legislature to take up this issue and say we're going to make a law anyway. And it's a testament to how strongly people feel about this that it's happening anyway. But now that you have a federal government that is going to respect your laws I think that should give a lot of momentum to these states. I think it's going to get a lot easier to work across the aisle with people, when you can say that whatever we come up with, that's going to be the law of the land.

Shepherd: Popular opinion definitely favors approving medical marijuana. In Wisconsin, reliable polling shows that as many as 80% of people in Wisconsin want a program.

Bienenstock: Let's be honest about this. The opponents of medical marijuana are scared to give any ground on this issue because it's propping up a larger war on drugs that is the elephant in the room. The war on drugs is a tremendous failure. It's a tremendous waste of resources. And it has unintended consequences that are worse than the problem it's meant to address. [Opponents of medical marijuana are] less concerned with whether chronically ill people are getting their medicine than they are with continuing to prop up this huge war of drugs.

Shepherd: What has been the impact of the war on drugs on people who smoke pot?

Bienenstock: It's been incredibly punitive. You have students who can't get financial aid because they have one small marijuana possession arrest on their record, yet people who are murderers are still eligible. You have also taken a huge percentage of the American public who are good people and contribute to society and have made them live in fear. It's difficult for them to form a community. You have children afraid of their parents and parents who are afraid of their children.

And I think in a larger sense you have to look into the economics of it. If you add up what we spend on enforcement and then what the government would take in under a reasonable tax and regulation system, it comes out to about $15 billion a year. That was always ridiculous, but to use our resources so foolishly now, it makes no sense. To be fighting two wars and have a crashing economy, with people out of work and losing their jobs and homes and 401(k)s, for the government to come to them and say we need $7 billion to hassle people who enjoy a harmless plant-that's the bottom line.

Shepherd: Has Obama said anything about the student loan situation?

Bienenstock: I don't know if it's something he has to address specifically. I was just at the 10th anniversary conference of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), which is a group that literally was founded a year after that penalty went into effect to address it. It's become one of the fastest-growing student organizations in the country. It's been a tremendously effective one. Even before this election, which obviously is making their job a lot easier, they were able to pull it back to [denying financial aid] only if you have a drug conviction while you're receiving aid. It used to be any drug conviction. If something happened when you were 16, you were denied aid.

And I have to say that Bill Clinton signed that law. And Bill Clinton arrested as many pot smokers as anyone else. And Bill Clinton sent the DEA into California after Prop 215 passed.

What pot smokers are looking for is a completely new direction. We're not looking for a return to the good old days, because we've never had them. But as far as what Obama may or may not do about student loans, I can't speak about that specifically, but coming back from that SSDP conference, I feel a lot of optimism that this policy is something that can be changed pretty quickly.

Shepherd: Has High Times' publication ever been threatened over the years?

Bienenstock: Even in Bush's America we still have the First Amendment to protect us. And we have lawyers. I don't think any of us have the attitude that we could never be hassled. We're not engaged in criminal activity. We're engaged in running a publication. But will I be breathing a little bit easier on Jan. 20 to know that the president and his administration, even if they don't agree with me, probably don't see me as a threat that needs to be destroyed? Yes. I will feel better. But I haven't had any problems, and the magazine hasn't had many problems.

Shepherd: In the book there's a list of 420 things to do when you're high. What are some of your personal favorites?

Bienenstock: Playing ping-pong. It's a huge passion of mine and of some people on the staff here. The two activities definitely go well together. I do play better after a couple of puffs. There's another item on the list that says, "Invent a milkshake." And I've certainly been known to enjoy that.

And I really liked what Redman said, which was, "work." It's definitely true for me, too. I try to make the point that people think pot makes you lazy, but it's really that lazy people love to smoke pot. And part of having to be in the closet is that the people who are the most successful who smoke pot have the most to lose by admitting it. I think that's something that's beginning to change.

But the No. 1 thing you should do when you're stoned is to join NORML [the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] or an organization like it that's right for you. One of the best things you can do when you get stoned is to get involved in changing these laws. Because it does feel good to get stoned and it does feel really good to work toward bringing that freedom to everyone.

I really do feel that people are starting to drop some of these old stereotypes of what a pot smoker is. Part of that is that people are just tired of pretending. There's a lot of talk in the marijuana movement that we need to take inspiration from the gay rights movement, where people finally said, "This is who I am and it's up to you to deal with it." It's very difficult. It's illegal to smoke pot. So it's this slow process of change. If we all woke up tomorrow and everybody knew who smoked pot and who didn't, it would be legal the day after that. And that would be a glorious day, because it would be your doctor or your stockbroker or your butcher and baker and candlestick maker. I can't tell you how many construction sites I walk by at lunchtime and catch a nice whiff. Pot smokers come from all ethnicities, all socioeconomic areas, all generations. I've been involved in this for a long time and it's good to be at such an optimistic moment, coming back from that SSDP conference. There's just so much optimism right now that we really can pass sensible drug policies.

Shepherd: Here's the part of the interview where you can crassly plug your book. Why should it be under everyone's Christmas tree this year?

Bienenstock: Even if you do smoke pot, I hope that you would find a lot to learn from reading it, and have a lot of fun. And it does make a great gift, because everybody-everybody, everybody-knows somebody who smokes pot and enjoys it. And they'll think you're cool and they'll know that you respect them and their lifestyle. You can buy the book for them and read it first and learn a little something about your friends and neighbors.

I want pot smokers to be knowledgeable about what we're doing, and to be proud of what we're doing and to be well versed in it and to feel that we're part of a large community full of good people.

What's your take?

Posted by Gary at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2008

Shepherd Express: Could Wisconsin Be Next?

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Milwaukee's Shepherd Express looks at cannabis this week, both with this article and another about the national scene.

Source: Shepherd Express click here
Pubdate: Wednesday, December 3,2008
Author: Lisa Kaiser


On Nov. 4, Michigan became the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana when 63% of its voters approved a grassroots-supported ballot initiative. Now, a quarter of all Americans live in a medical marijuana state.

But even though 80% of Wisconsin residents approve of legalizing medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, the state does not allow voters to ratify a program through the ballot initiative process, as Michigan did. Instead, medical marijuana supporters must urge the state Legislature to pass a bill in both houses that also would be supported by the governor.

Unfortunately, attempts to get a well-thought-out bill through the state Legislature have failed in past years, even with bipartisan support among lawmakers.

But Gary Storck, spokesman for Is My Medicine Legal Yet? (IMMLY), said he's "fairly confident" that a Democratically controlled state Legislature will legalize medical marijuana in the next session. "It's becoming more of a mainstream issue," Storck said. "And it would be really wrong to delay something that got such strong support in Michigan. I think it would be incredibly cruel to string it out. The groundwork has already been done."

He said the Legislature should act quickly to save people's lives. "I know people who are having a really hard time every day because they don't have legal access to medical marijuana," Storck said. "Their situations are so dire that they're not going to see it in their lifetime, even if it is passed in the next session."

While most medical marijuana users are coping with cancer treatments, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and chronic pain, Storck added that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or brain injuries may also benefit from medical marijuana use. Other research indicates that using marijuana may forestall Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

What's more, Storck argued that the state as a whole would benefit economically from cannabis research and a legal medical marijuana industry. "It's an industry with a lot of jobs," Storck said. "And we can have it here really easily."

Storck is also encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal on Dec. 1 to review a case concerning California's medical marijuana law. He said it shows that even the highest court in the land has decided to respect state laws in this area, despite a 2005 court decision that seemed to give the federal government more power over state-level medical marijuana programs. "This is a case with ramifications in Wisconsin," Storck said. "There isn't a gray area anymore. The Supreme Court said that law enforcement should uphold state law first."

Storck said that a Milwaukee-area NORML chapter is in the works; those who are interested can contact him at www.immly.org or the state chapter of NORML at www.winorml.org.

-Lisa Kaiser

Posted by Gary at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2008

ASA Release: U.S. Supreme Court: State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal Law

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, December 1, 2008

Below is a press release from Americans for Safe Access noting the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take a case challenging a California appeals court decision that state law took precedence. The action upholds the earlier finding that,"it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws."

This case has implications for Wisconsin, both in the lawmaking process as well as practical implications for when Wisconsin joins other medical marijuana states including California and our neighbor, Michigan.

Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release: *December 1, 2008

*U.S. Supreme Court: State Medical Marijuana Laws Not Preempted by Federal Law

*/medical marijuana case appealed by the City of Garden Grove was denied review today/

*Washington, DC* -- The U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a landmark decision today in which California state courts found that its medical marijuana law was not preempted by federal law. The state appellate court decision from November 28, 2007, ruled that "it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws." The case, involving Felix Kha, a medical marijuana patient from Garden Grove, was the result of a wrongful seizure of medical marijuana by local police in June 2005. Medical marijuana advocates hailed today's decision as a huge victory in clarifying law enforcement's obligation to uphold state law. Advocates assert that better adherence to state medical marijuana laws by local police will result in fewer needless arrests and seizures. In turn, this will allow for better implementation of medical marijuana laws not only in California, but in all states that have adopted such laws.

"It's now settled that state law enforcement officers cannot arrest medical marijuana patients or seize their medicine simply because they prefer the contrary federal law," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana advocacy organization that represented the defendant Felix Kha in a case that the City of Garden Grove appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. "Perhaps, in the future local government will think twice about expending significant time and resources to defy a law that is overwhelmingly supported by the people of our state."

California medical marijuana patient Felix Kha was pulled over by the Garden Grove Police Department and cited for possession of marijuana, despite Kha showing the officers proper documentation. The charge against Kha was subsequently dismissed, with the Superior Court of Orange County issuing an order to return Kha's wrongfully seized 8 grams of medical marijuana. The police, backed by the City of Garden Grove, refused to return Kha's medicine and the city appealed. Before the 41-page decision was issued a year ago by California's Fourth District Court of Appeal, the California Attorney General filed a "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Kha's right to possess his medicine. The California Supreme Court then denied review in March.

"The source of local law enforcement's resistance to upholding state law is an outdated, harmful federal policy with regard to medical marijuana," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "This should send a message to the federal government that it's time to establish a compassionate policy more consistent with the 13 states that have adopted medical marijuana laws."

Further information: Today's U.S. Supreme Court Order denying review: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Kha_USSC.pdf Decision by the California Fourth Appellate District Court: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/GardenGroveDecision.pdf Felix Kha's return of property case: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?id=4412

# # #

With over 30,000 active members in more than 40 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.



Posted by Gary at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Patients Out of Time: Release regarding Irv Rosenfeld's now 26 years of federally-supplied medical marijuana

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm very proud to serve on the advisory board of Patients Out of Time click here. In April, I attended their 5th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics at the Asilomar Conference Center in Monterey, CA. Their next conference is scheduled for Rhode Island in April 2010. Below is their press release about Irv Rosenfeld, one of four surviving patients in the federal compassionate IND program. For 26 years now, Irv has now been supplied with federal pot grown near the site of one of the 2008 presidential debates, in Oxford, MS click here. Jacki Rickert was approved for the program, but never supplied.

For Immediate Release:

When Noah started to give God some lip he was asked, “Noah, how long can you tread water?

The US government’s free for the asking (once) medical marijuana program has treaded in an ocean of medical cannabis hypocrisy for 30 years.

This hypocrisy is best personified by Irv Rosenfeld: husband, career stock broker, dog lover, champion handicap sailor and recipient of 9 ounces of US government supplied medical cannabis every three weeks since 1982. Irv just passed the previous record held by the late Robert Randall, who in 1976 became the first patient to be supplied cannabis from the federal government for the treatment of glaucoma and received it for 26 years.

Irv Rosenfeld comments that, “Four of us in the federal medical cannabis program (IND) were examined for three days at St. Joseph's Hospital, Missoula, MT in 2001using private funds. All of us were found to be in fine physical and mental condition. (1). I am long passed feeling euphoria from my medical use but what I do feel is a lack of pain and discomfort and a frustration with my government for not allowing other citizens to have what is given to me with my gratitude.”

Sitting in his Florida office Irv continued, “While the US government has been arresting patients and caregivers for using cannabis medically they have been sending it to four of the Directors of Patients Out of Time (POT). In my case I have gotten my medicine for over 26 years, the longest use of any medicinal cannabis patient. Federal myths about cannabis not being medically accepted, coupled with its world wide use as a medicine on every continent plus the 14 states that have accepted the medical community’s endorsement of medical value (1) has created a conundrum for US medical cannabis policy. Political whim versus hard science for the federal employees of the HHS and NIDA has been the mantra for making medical decisions concerning cannabis. That professional betrayal the Obama administration can correct. HHS needs to answer The Petition to Reschedule Cannabis in the affirmative. Meaning, declare my medicine may be good for all citizens and turn our medical use of cannabis over to the health care community instead of having us treated by the police and jailers.”(2)

Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, President of POT and pioneer in the education of the health care community about the therapeutic uses of cannabis adds her comments from her VA office, “Irv suffers from a rare disorder called multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis and without the medical use of cannabis he would be crippled, unable to work and on numerous pharmaceuticals to manage his pain or maybe even dead. Cannabis is a safe and effective medicine for a variety of ailments. Irv and only 3 other US citizens can legally smoke cannabis supplied by our government. What about the rest of us? Why does our government forbid us this medicine? There is no honest justification for the prohibition of cannabis”

IND=Investigational New Drug Program

Irv Rosenfeld
Newbridge Securities
(877) 447-9625 x120

Al Byrne, Co-founder
Patients Out of Time
(434) 263-4484

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