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March 25, 2009

Wisconsin Drug offenders could retain licenses

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good news for WI drivers caught up in a federal mandate that revoked driver's licenses for any drug violation.

The Daily Cardinal click here
By: Molly Sheetz
March 25, 2009

Drug offenders could retain licenses

The Wisconsin state Assembly passed a resolution removing a federal mandate requiring automatic suspension of drug offenders’ drivers’ licenses Tuesday.


The Wisconsin state Assembly passed a joint resolution Tuesday allowing judges to decide whether drug offenders’ driver’s licenses should be suspended.

Wisconsin is the 38th state to pass a resolution that removes itself from a federal mandate requiring judges to automatically suspend or revoke driver’s licenses of convicted drug offenders.

The resolution passed with a vote of 86 to 12, a result that did not surprise state Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.

“This is a no-brainer. This is easy. It’s just giving [offenders] more time to pay [fines],” he said. “It’s a win for municipalities, and we get people back to work.”

Although the resolution relates solely to suspensions for non-moving drug violations, supporters of the resolution hope it will help offenders keep their jobs.

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, said she co-sponsored the resolution because she believed it was important to get people back to work.

“This is certainly not the bill that’s going to bring us out of the recession, but it’s one that will help people maintain their jobs,” she said.

According to Eric Peterson, chief of staff for state Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, Taylor considered the federal policy overly restrictive and detrimental to offenders who are working to rebuild their lives.

The issue originally caught Taylor’s attention when she learned that roughly 90,000 people in Milwaukee County did not have valid driver’s licenses.

Taylor proceeded to work as the primary author of the resolution.

Peterson said the resolution does not guarantee licenses will not be suspended, but said judges will now make the decision.

“This is just one tool that is in the toolbox of keeping people driving,” Peterson said.

Posted by Gary at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2009

MI Messenger: Medical marijuana may soon be legal, but questions remain

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Michigan continues to move closer to issuing the first ID cards in their new medical cannabis program. Patients with valid doctor's recommendations have been protected since the law took effect in Dec. 2008.

Medical marijuana may soon be legal, but questions remain
Source: Michigan Messenger: click here
By Chris Killian 3/24/09 6:50 AM

State police chiefs organization director on Proposal 1 implementation: 'We don’t know what it’s going to look like. It’s new to all of us.'

In a matter of days, state residents suffering debilitating ailments and serious diseases will have a natural — and now legal — option to treat the pain and discomfort of their conditions. But on April 4, when Michigan becomes the 13th state to sanction the use of medical marijuana with a physician’s recommendation, there are some questions about the legalities of how the product will be procured.

While the Department of Community Health has outlined the rules, regulations and application requirements since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal 1 last fall, the new law is mum on where exactly patients can obtain their legal pot.

There are three options for patients: Buy it on the street, grow their own or have someone grow it for them. A registered patient will be able to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis and up to 12 marijuana plants without facing state criminal prosecution.

But the increase in the amount of marijuana “legally” available in the state could open the door to potential abuses. Selling the drug is still illegal, according to state and federal law.

“The first year, there will be some bad press,” said John Targowski, a Kalamazoo criminal defense attorney who specializes in drug cases. “It’s going to be a maturing process. The first year or two, it’s going to be a test. But it could head in the wrong direction if we’ve got those idiots who think they can operate like a drug dealer.”

Targowski, who is a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ legal team, was speaking about caregivers, people who would assist pot patients in the cultivation of their marijuana and assist them in the delivery of the drug into their body if they can’t do so themselves. One caregiver can assist up to five patients and is protected from prosecution provided he or she does not ingest the marijuana or distribute it to a non-patient, according to the law.

And regardless of the legal protections in place for patient and caregiver alike, the initial marijuana purchase means that “someone will have to break the law,” Targowski said, referring to patients buying pot in the first place.

Tom Hendrickson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, has worries, too.

Although he said local law enforcement agencies throughout the state have no intention of monitoring patients’ behavior, the law does “open the door to complete legalization.”

Marijuana being grown for medical use has “the potential for abuse” by non-patients, he said. “If you’ve got one caregiver growing pot for five patients, that’s 60 plants, which is a potential quasi-commercial operation. Look at your access points: If there are more gas stations and 7-11s, they are used more.”

Hendrickson said that law enforcement officials will just have to wait and see. “We’re concerned about how they’re going to implement the law. It’s going to be a learning process, and right now we don’t know what it’s going to look like. It’s new to all of us.”

Patients can’t use their marijuana in public and cannot operate cars and machinery while under the drug’s influence, the law states. They also can face stiff fines and possible jail time if they sell or furnish marijuana to those who are not registered to possess the drug.

In all cases, failure to operate within the confines of the regulations outlined in the law would lead to a permanent ban of a patient from the state’s medical marijuana registry.

Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, said that medical marijuana patients will be able to meet at “compassion clubs” that have been forming over the past several months to learn more about how the drug can alleviate their symptoms.

But marijuana cannot be purchased at the meetings. “These aren’t medical marijuana hook-ups,” Francisco said. “It’s hard for marijuana to become any more available than it already is.”

Francisco said that ideally patients would grow their own cannabis.

“We’re expecting things to go smoothly,” Francisco said. “We don’t expect anything major to happen. The sky’s not going to fall. There could be a few speed bumps, though. The police have said they will respect it.”

Still, Francisco does have concerns, including so-called “grow-rippers” or other criminals who steal a crop of marijuana plants, irresponsible caregivers who sell the drugs they grow on the black market and law enforcement personnel who abuse the new law.

Proposal 1 passed with 63 percent of the vote in November, making Michigan the first state in the Midwest to have some kind of medical marijuana law. It also becomes the second-most populous of the medical marijuana states, behind California, which approved a similar ballot initiative in 1996.

The Michigan measure collected 250,000 more votes than Barack Obama did in the Great Lakes State during the November elections. It also garnered a majority of votes in every county.

Advocates are estimating that 500 applications will be filed before the law’s official introduction on April 4. Within two years, about 50,000 Michiganders are predicted to be using medical marijuana legally.

Since taking office, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has signaled a considerably more relaxed federal attitude toward the state-level sanctioning of medical marijuana. “The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law, to the extent that people do that and try to use medical marijuana laws as a shield for activity that is not designed to comport with what the intention was of the state law,” the attorney general said at a press briefing last week.

In 2001 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal authorities had the right to prosecute marijuana sellers, regardless of state laws. Later, in 2005, justices ruled that the federal government could still ban possession of marijuana in states that have sanctioned the medical use of the drug.

(Chris Killian is a freelance journalist based in Kalamazoo and writes regularly for the Kalamazoo Gazette.)


Posted by Gary at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2009

Grand Prize Winner for the 2009 NORML Ad Contest: Legalization: Yes We Can

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Here is a great quick watch -- the Grand Prize Winner for the 2009 NORML Ad Contest!

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

March 20, 2009

Chicago Tribune: Legal pot debuts in Midwest

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, March 20, 2009

A very patient-friendly look at Michigan's medical cannabis law.

Source: Chicago Tribune: click here
By Tim Jones | Tribune correspondent
March 20, 2009

Legal pot debuts in Midwest

As Michigan's medical marijuana law takes full effect next month, sufferers of chronic pain and other ailments cheer while police predict problems

Medical marijuana in Michigan

Ron Stephens, who has a chronic neck disorder and depression, built his own marijuana "grow room" with high-powered lights and reflective paper on the walls. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Tribune photo / March 12, 2009)

PAW PAW, Mich.—At first glance they look like old pals, maybe a bunch from the Rotary Club leisurely gabbing away over the hamburger special, making the waitress work overtime for her tip.

But these guys are different. Their eyes, their fidgeting and their restlessness betray a shared bond of chronic pain, sleepless nights, depression and a reliance on heavy-duty prescription drugs. Around this lunchtime table, they talk about the only thing that gives them a measure of peace, the only thing that, for perhaps a few hours, sets them free: marijuana.

They've been smoking or eating marijuana for years—privately and illegally. And now, because Michigan voters approved marijuana use for the treatment of certain serious maladies, Bob White soon will be able to get himself together in his Three Rivers home "without having to draw the shades."

Legalized medical marijuana is about to make its debut in Michigan, which becomes the 13th state and the first between the Rockies and the East Coast to embrace the controversial pain treatment. In a vote last November that defied the culture war/reefer madness connotation to the illegal drug, 63 percent of the state's voters—and a majority in every county—said yes to medical marijuana. The measure collected 250,000 more votes than Barack Obama, who won the state easily.

(snip) Continues: click here

Posted by Gary at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2009

Putting marijuana in the Minnesota State Constitution?

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, March 16, 2009

MinnPost.com is reporting that due to MN Gov. Pawlenty's continuing threats to veto state medical cannabis legislation, putting it to voters as a constitutional amendment is now being considered.

Putting marijuana in the state Constitution?
By David Brauer | Monday, March 16, 2009
Source: MinnPost.com click here

The PiPress' Jason Hoppin says because of Gov. Pawlenty's implacable opposition, medical marijuana advocates may pursue a constitutional amendment. An ex-Republican legislator is pushing the possibility if the Legislature can't override the guv's likely veto this year. Both houses would have to approve putting the measure on the ballot. The non-amendment bill sets up drug dispensaries and specifically names allowed conditions, which supporters call "one of the tightest laws on the books."

Posted by Gary at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2009

Minnesota: Medical marijuana wins in another Senate committee

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More good news out of MN as a medical cannabis bill passes another Senate committee!

Source: Minnesota Independent click here
Medical marijuana wins in another Senate committee
By Andy Birkey 3/11/09 7:53 AM

The Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division heard a controversial medical marijuana bill on Tuesday. The bill would allow for severely ill patients to procure marijuana either through a nonprofit registered through the state or to grow up to 12 plants themselves. The bill passed the committee by a voice vote, but not before a grilling from Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont.

Rosen wanted to know how to measure THC content in medical marijuana, how to prevent tampering, and what the sentencing guidelines would be for abuse.

But even further, “I’m very concerned about the parameters of the products that is coming out. Who’s growing it, what is grown, what type of herbicides and pesticides are being used on the product?”

Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, the chief author of the bill, said that the small number of plants, a 12-plant limit grown by the patient or by a nonprofit in a locked facility, negate the need for chemicals. “Other than Miracle Grow, I think that’s about it,” he said.

Rosen continued, “Who is controlling the quality of these plants? You are using a plant as a medicinal painkiller, and there is a lot of room for tampering.”

Murphy said, “Since this state was formed, there have been zero deaths from use of marijuana.” He pointed out that these are users of illegal marijuana, which is highly prone to tampering.

And in terms of THC content in marijuana, one of the plant’s active chemicals, Murphy said that patients control their own dosage. “There are no cases in the history of the world of anyone overdosing on marijuana and dying. I mean zero,” he said.

But after several rounds of questions, Murphy speculated on what the real concerns of opponents: that this bill would be a break from drug war policy. “You know, this country has spent billions on the war on drugs and [drug use] more prevalent than it ever has been,” he said. “This bill is simply to allow these patients to use this legally without being outside the bounds of the law.”

The bill faces its next test in the Senate Finance Committee and, if passed, will be considered by

the full Senate.

Posted by Gary at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2009

East Bay (CA) Express: The Manhattan Project of Marijuana

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cannabis prohibition is not conducive to quality control. Clandestine production, transport and storage often mean a less than perfect product. Now, a California dispensary is leading the way in ensuring safer medicines.

East Bay Express click here

The Manhattan Project of Marijuana

If pot is truly medicine, shouldn't it be standardized? Analytical Labs wants to test the potency and safety of Cali cannabis.

By David Downs

March 4, 2009

At downtown Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the hairy green buds have numbers. The new nomenclature beckons viewers from within seven gleaming glass display cases. Antiseptic white placards boast authoritative black digits. Each stands erect next to a Petri dish of high-octane "White Rhino" or "Afgooey Super Melt." They read: 7 percent, 11 percent, 18 percent, or 21 percent. Even 80 percent.

"80 percent THC?" asks a potential customer. He's referring to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

"That's a concentrate," reminds Stephen DeAngelo, proud owner of the three-year-old collective. DeAngelo's facility boasts 20,000 members and grossed more than $10 million last year. Even amid the recession, lines are a constant phenomenon and DeAngelo is looking to double his space. Hundreds of new customers sign up monthly, attracted partly by the immaculate facility: its savvy, well-paid "budtenders" and $40, eighth-ounce pot dosages. But part of the appeal is the new placards — the result of a disruptive new service by Harborside's partners at the Analytical Laboratory Project.

"For the first time in the 3,000-year history of human cannabis consumption, consumers will be provided a scientific assessment of the safety and potency of products prior to ingesting them," DeAngelo announced in December.

In the months since, DeAngelo's patrons have enjoyed mankind's most detailed product information thanks to the country's first commercial marijuana lab. Arrest and jail remain a constant worry for him and the lab's two owners. But they believe that if pot is truly medicine, it needs quality assurance and dosage information. The Analytical Laboratory Project wants to be the source of that information. The lab's ultimate goal is to provide testing for half of the 300 dispensaries in California.

(snip) Continues...

Posted by Gary at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2009

UW Badger Herald Column: Marijuana laws ridiculous, impractical

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, March 5, 2009

Here's a nice column from the Badger Herald. I wish Mayor Dave had more respect for the clout his office carries, that as Mayor of a town with a 4-decade plus close personal relationship with cannabis, his opinion that cannabis should be legal does matter and is appreciated by most Madisonians. There are things he could do, like study what the impact of a legal cannabis market would be on Madison, or direct the City's state and federal lobbyists to lobby for cannabis law reform. This is what he does with other issues he can't address locally. Cannabis law reform would have a direct positive impact on life here. Isn't that worth more than a qualified opinion?

Marijuana laws ridiculous, impractical
Badger Herald
Kyle Szarzynski
Thursday, March 5, 2009 00:00

Being a communist executive in a hippie town, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz expressed his support for the legalization of marijuana last Friday on Pulse Madison 1670 AM. Just the previous week, it was revealed a police officer filed a report detailing how my alder, Mike Verveer (also a fire-breathing radical), was in a room of a local restaurant in which the drug was almost certainly being smoked.

Only in Madison, I guess.

Yes, in few other cities would either the mayor’s statement or the alder’s whereabouts not have done serious political damage. In most of our parochial land, giving the only reasonable opinion as to what should be the legal status of Cannabis sativa, let alone operating within a 10-foot radius of its consumption, would qualify as political masochism.

But even here in hippie-dom, having what should be a banal position on drug use still requires the most pathetic of apologies. Mayor Dave had to clean up the edges of his remarks by stating this was just his personal opinion, and he has no policy proposals that would affect marijuana’s criminalization. Meanwhile, poor Alder Verveer gave the excuse that he was recovering from the flu, which he claims affected his ability to detect the thick cloud of smoke swirling around his head.

“I didn’t see anything,” he said. “I didn’t smell anything. I didn’t use anything.”

While it’s certainly the obligation of any open-minded thinker to consider all the angles on any issue, I confess I can see about as much legitimacy in demonizing weed smoking as the claims of illegal campaigning by the victorious opponents of the new ASM Constitution. It’s a freaking plant that, among other side affects, induces a state of mellowness, introspection and heightened physical sensation. Aside from the minor toll it takes on the lungs, it’s essentially harmless. I therefore feel completely justified in referring to right-wing Dane County Executive candidate Nancy Mistele — who in response recently said she would support drug testing for pro-sanity politicians like Cieslewicz and Verveer — as a veritable square and demagogue.

Because Verveer can’t say it himself, the rest of us will have to say it for him: Whether he was aware of the marijuana or not, whether he used the marijuana or not, he did absolutely nothing wrong.

It’s a disgraceful statement on our society that the voluntary consumption of selected substances invites such viciousness and unreason. Lurking police officers interrupting an individual’s private lifestyle choice in the quiet evening harkens back to what is commonly thought of as a more intolerant American past, including the days of Prohibition and criminalization of homosexuality.

Of course, the hysteria surrounding other drugs — especially “hard drugs,” as they have been colloquially termed — is much worse. Ours is a society in which selling a few grams of white powder to a willing purchaser can earn one decades of prison time. The social stigma of non-marijuana drug use is so great its public users could never think of being treated equally. Drugs and its users have effectively been relegated to the status of “other” — they are something not to be understood or respected, but demonized as something substantively different from the rest of society.

Last year I wrote a column detailing how America’s drug war — something truly unique in the Western world — has little to do with fighting the ever-hyperbolized dangers of a few plants. Our government’s commitment to outlawing drugs is expensive, violent and, of course, impossible to win. The war instead serves as a prime justification for the maintenance and expansion of the police state and military-industrial complex. It keeps people scared of potentially rebellious and oppressed populations — namely people of color and the poor — and justifies their unequal social standing. It’s an essential tool of injustice that bolsters a status quo that is wretched for so many people.

It’s hard to see how anyone who is empathetic and rational would not instinctually feel sympathy for Verveer in his unluckiness and Cieslewicz in his forthrightness. These are people and positions with which students at this university can relate. It should never be forgotten, however, that most of the victims of America’s insane war against drugs are much less visible and endure far worse repercussions.

Kyle Szarzynski (szarzynski@badgerherald.com) is a senior majoring in history and Spanish.

Posted by Gary at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2009

Illinois Legislators consider medical marijuana bill

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Illinois medical cannabis legislation is being introduced.

Legislators consider medical marijuana bill
03/04/2009, 10:35 am

By Kevin Lee
The Daily Journal Springfield Bureau

SPRINGFIELD -- Chronically ill Illinois residents should be able to request a potent form of medicine: marijuana.

At least that's the contention of state lawmakers pushing medical marijuana legislation.

Lawmakers are considering a law that would allow limited amounts of marijuana to be dispensed to patients with a doctor's recommendation. Dispensaries and patients would have to register with the state's Department of Public Health before participating in the program.

If passed, the legislation would allow marijuana to be used as treatment for long-term illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, said state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the sponsor of the bill.

"This is a very controlled piece of legislation that allows people who need it, and only people who need it, to relieve their discomfort," he said.

State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, did not see the need for medicinal marijuana.

"I talked to some optometrists about it for the treatment of glaucoma, and there are 50 different things they can use that don't have the after-effects to the lungs as well," he said.

The proposed legislation revisits long-running questions on marijuana's medicinal value and how the drug should be regulated.

Supporters cite a 1999 study by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences that found that marijuana can be used to ease symptoms of chronically-ill patients.

Marijuana should still be considered a "gateway" drug, not as a medicine, according to Judy Kreamer, president of a Naperville-based drug education non-profit, Educating Voice.

"There is no such thing as a proper dosage. When was the last time you took a medication for which there was no dosage or quality control?" she said.

Politicians and law enforcement agencies at the federal and state level are unsure of how to regulate medicinal marijuana.

Federal government prohibits any marijuana use, but 13 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, according to Bill Piper, director of national affairs for a national organization that supports legal recreational use of marijuana.

Piper says federal and state laws cannot be reconciled, as seen last month when federal agents raided locally sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

"The best way to solve the conflict is for the federal government to allow access to marijuana for medical use and give states broader authority to regulate," he said.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that President Barack Obama's administration will stop using federal resources to close medicinal marijuana dispensaries and give greater autonomy to states.

State Rep. Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley, said she would not support the measure unless more extensive regulations are added to limit who receives marijuana and how much they receive.

Lt. Scott Compton, spokesman for the Illinois State Police, said the proposed bill might cause complications with current DUI laws if passed. Illinois currently has a no-tolerance stand on driving with THC, marijuana's active ingredient, in the bloodstream.

The proposed bill allows medical marijuana users to have THC in their bloodstream so long as it was "insufficient" to cause impairment, which could be difficult to determine without a benchmark, he said.

State Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan wants strict regulations to discourage abuse, but says he understands the appeal of medical marijuana.

"I had some family members who had to take chemotherapy -- they got as sick as a dog. They didn't smoke marijuana, but if that would have helped them, I would have certainly thought it was appropriate," he said.


Posted by Gary at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2009

Badger Herald: Mayor wants pot legalized

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who else wants cannabis legalized in Madison, and who does not? Read on...

Source: Badger Herald
Pubdate: Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Author: Heather Burian

MAYOR WANTS POT LEGALIZED

Cieslewicz would make it alright to smoke weed if the decision was within his power

Speaking on the radio station Pulse Madison 1670 AM Friday, Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said if he was granted the option, he would make marijuana legal.

In a phone interview with radio show "Sly in the Morning," Cieslewicz was asked about a pending issue concerning Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4.

Madison police officer Carrie Hemming found Verveer and Zander's owner Mohamed Barkatallah sitting in the dimly lit top level of Barkatallah's bar last month where she allegedly smelled marijuana. She left the bar without saying a word to Verveer.

"Trying to make the case, I basically said, 'Look, if it were up to me, marijuana would not be illegal, but it's not up to me,'" Cieslewicz said.

According to Cieslewicz, wanting to legalize marijuana is not a policy proposal from his office.

To become legal, the issue would need to be handled on a state level, Cieslewicz said. He added the city has to focus its attention on more important issues.

Rachel Strauch-Nelson, spokesperson for Cieslewicz, said legalizing marijuana is not a pending decision in the city. If the mayor had more say about the issue, he would probably be pursuing the matter, she added.

"I think it's some sort of statement of his opinion," Strauch-Nelson said.

Regarding the Verveer incident, Cieslewicz said the issue has been covered thoroughly, and it is now in the past.

Ald. Michael Schumacher, District 18, a member of the Alcohol License Review Committee, said though he never used marijuana, he has no moral issue with the drug and no issue with people consuming it in their own proximity.

If marijuana were to be legalized, Schumacher said he would want the conditions placed on alcohol - such as no use while driving or operating heavy machinery - placed on marijuana use.

"If [marijuana] doesn't lead to heavier drug use and it doesn't lead to unacceptable behavior in public, it certainly helps save resources and [not] criminalize behavior," he added. "I don't think it really harms anybody."

Cieslewicz agreed, saying there is not much evidence marijuana is harmful.

However, Nancy Mistele, challenger in the race for Dane County Executive said she is confused why Cieslewicz would want to legalize marijuana.

According to Mistele, Cieslewicz and all members of the City Council maybe should be subject to drug testing, adding it is the responsibility of elected officials to uphold the law.

In the 2007-08 Legislature, a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin was devised and spoken about in an information hearing. However, the bill was not brought to a vote in either house and has yet to be reintroduced.

"[Marijuana] is certainly widely used in this country for quite a while, and I don't see the point in continuing to make it illegal," Cieslewicz said.

Verveer declined to comment on the issue.

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and Madison Police Chief Noble Wray could not be reached for comment.

Posted by Gary at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

Wisconsin State Journal: Legalize marijuana? 'I don't have a problem with it at all,' says Cieslewicz

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Interesting article out of today's State Journal.

Legalize marijuana? 'I don't have a problem with it at all,' says Cieslewicz
By SANDY CULLEN
Wisconsin State Journal

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said on a radio talk show Friday that if it were up to him, marijuana would be legal.

"I don’t have a problem with it at all," Cieslewicz said on the "Sly In The Morning" show on WTDY-AM (1670).

But mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson said Monday that "it was just a personal opinion" and "not a policy initiative of any kind."

"I thank him for his candor, but I’m disappointed he’s not willing to take it any farther," said Gary Storck. co-founder of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"This is a city that’s known for cannabis — why not run with it?" Storck said, adding that it would be better than Madison being known for alcohol intoxication. "If it’s legal, the city could benefit from all the green businesses that would grow up around it."

Cieslewicz made the comment while discussing a recent incident at a State Street lounge where a Madison police officer said she smelled burnt marijuana but failed to investigate further after she saw Downtown Ald. Mike Verveer. Officer Carrie Hemming was given a letter of reprimand.

"It doesn’t matter what I think," Cieslewicz said. "What matters is what is legal and illegal now."

Posted by Gary at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2009

Madison NORML blog marks 4th year online

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, March 1, 2009

On March 2, 2005, the Madison NORML blog was launched, with a post about an upcoming meeting. Other March 2005 posts noted Madison NORML's first medical cannabis lobby day at the State Capitol and a medical cannabis benefit at Cafe Montmarte. 4 years later, both Madison NORML, with well over a hundred meetings and other events held since August 2004, and our blog, with over 400 posts, are going strong.

Posted by Gary at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)