« March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

April 26, 2009

Michigan: Seed planted for medical marijuana zoning

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, April 26, 2009

Michigan continues to deal with implementation of their new medical cannabis law.

Source: Daily Tribune (Oakland MI) click here.

Seed planted for medical marijuana zoning

Sunday, April 26, 2009

By Catherine Kavanaugh, Daily Tribune Staff Writer

Public can pipe up about ordinance at May 12 hearing.

ROYAL OAK — Some city officials want to weed out the possibility of medical marijuana suppliers growing 60 plants in their houses by requiring them to set up shop in a general business district.

Registered primary caregivers can grow 12 plants each for up to five qualified patients under a Michigan law passed last November.

The Plan Commission is looking at regulating where some growing operations can locate. Royal Oak could be one of the first — if not the first — community in the state to set up zoning rules for people supplying patients.

"I haven't heard of anything like this. It will be interesting to see what comes of it," said James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, which registers primary caregivers and qualified patients.

The Plan Commission set a public hearing on proposed changes to the zoning ordinance for 7:30 p.m. May 12 at City Hall. The amendments would define primary caregivers as medical marijuana dispensaries and allow them in general business zones only as a special land use, which adds a level of scrutiny.

In Royal Oak, Woodward Avenue, Main Street north of the downtown, and some parts of Coolidge Highway and 14 Mile Road are general business districts.

The zoning amendments wouldn't affect residents with written certification of debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, who are growing marijuana for personal use.

If the ordinance is adopted, a qualified patient could still grow up to 12 plants at home indoors and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, according to Doug Hedges, city planner. If more than one qualified patient lives in a house, each can grow up to 12 plants.

The zoning amendments would affect people growing marijuana for one or more qualified patients.

"Primary caregivers can be compensated so that has the potential to be a business," Hedges said. "We don't think that's suitable for a house. We want to treat it similar to other medical services."

However, one primary caregiver probably won't be able to afford rent in a general business district as well as growing supplies and utility bills for lights and water, Plan Commission member Stacie Vorves said.

"If we're going to require this in a business district, we won't have medical marijuana grown here," Vorves said.

To make it economically feasible, Hedges said several primary caregivers could form a consortium to lower costs and serve more patients. This idea comes from Berkeley, Calif., he added.

"We see a potential for four or five primary caregivers to act together as a business," Hedges said.

But Vorves doubts they will.

"It's a good excuse but that doesn't happen too much in business," he said.

Vorves isn't sure he will support the zoning changes. He said as long the state law limits primary caregivers to grow up to 60 marijuana plants, he thinks it should be allowed as a home business.

"I don't care if people are growing pot or tomatoes. If both are legal, what's the difference?" Vorves asked.

(snip) Continues at: click here.

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

April 24, 2009

Beloit News: Supreme Court case reduces police's ability to search cars

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, April 24, 2009

The US Supreme Court has restored part of the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution, and state law officers are adjusting, according to this article from the Beloit News.

Source: Beloit News: click here.

Supreme Court case reduces police's ability to search cars
By Ashley Rhodebeck

Published: Friday, April 24, 2009 11:41 AM CDT

Stateline Area police - along with law enforcement officers nationwide - are adapting their practices to adhere to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits authorities' power to search someone's vehicle immediately after an arrest.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled Tuesday that police need a warrant to search an automobile if the person is locked in a patrol cruiser and poses no safety threat to officers, according to the Associated Press.

Justice John Paul Stevens said in the majority opinion that warrantless searches still may be conducted if a car's passenger compartment is within reach of a suspect who has been removed from the vehicle or there is reason to believe evidence will be found of the crime that led to the arrest.

For example, Roscoe Police Chief Jamie Evans said, if she were to pull a motorist over and could smell marijuana, she would have probable cause to conduct a search. Towed vehicles also could be searched.

“I'm not going to say that it's going to impact us greatly because a lot of times we do have the probable cause,” she said.

Beloit Police Chief Sam Lathrop said the court's decision “has definitely taken a turn away from what was common law enforcement practice” and has changed law enforcement's perspective on search incident to arrest.

Police have the right to conduct an immediate search of the area, whether it is a home or vehicle, when taking someone into custody, Lathrop said. It is a normal and common procedure.

“It's a basic tenant of officer safety,” he said. “We're not necessarily looking for additional evidence.”

But, he added, the ruling will mean police may sometimes not find more evidence when they would before.

Justice Samuel Alito, in dissent, complained that the decision upsets police practice that has developed since the court, 28 years ago, first authorized warrantless searches of cars immediately following an arrest.

“There are cases in which it is unclear whether an arrestee could retrieve a weapon or evidence,” Alito said.

Even more confusing, he said, is asking police to determine whether the vehicle contains evidence of a crime. “What this rule permits in a variety of situations is entirely unclear,” Alito said.

The Wisconsin Office of the Attorney General has issued a synopsis and review of the case and what it means for police in the state, Lathrop said. He noted his department is reviewing the ruling.

“It's important we bring our officers up to speed on this most recent ruling,” he said.

(snip) Continues at: click here.

Posted by Gary at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2009

Happy 4/20!

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, April 20, 2009

Wishing a Happy 4/20 to all those who appreciate the cannabis plant. Here is an OPED I wrote a few days ago.

President Obama says he wants to move us from, "a dark and painful chapter in our history," by promising not to prosecute CIA employees for torture.

One could also say the suppression of medical cannabis also represents "a dark and painful chapter in our history". Particularly for those people in states where it is legal, like Charles Lynch, the Morro Bay CA medical cannabis provider who had the approval of state and local authorities to operate, yet is still facing a minimum of 5 years on federal charges this Thursday.

Of course it goes far beyond the tragedies of those who were persecuted for trying to help, to the actual suppression of science. After all, the government knew that cannabis shrunk tumors back in 1974, but kept it secret. That action has meant millions of tragedies, unnecessary suffering, grieving survivors. And cancer is just one subset of myriad medical conditions that can be eased with cannabis. Because of it, scientists today are only scratching the surface on the tremendous cancer fighting potential of cannabis and its cannabinoids and other components. Patients undergoing chemotherapy might have had a non-toxic alternative years ago, were it not for this “dark and painful chapter in our history”.

Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon has said that medical cannabis will never reach its full potential until cannabis is legalized completely, and I agree.

We have a unique opportunity to correct the mistake of cannabis prohibition at this time in history. Support for legalization is at all-time highs, and numerous commentators and columnists have recently joined in support. Legalization could pacify a deteriorating Mexico, while creating a huge new green industry at home.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt raised the nation’s spirits during the Great Depression by legalizing beer early in his Administration, a move that restored many jobs at my ancestors’ Storck Brewery in Slinger, WI and other brewers around the country.

President Obama should do the same with cannabis, as many Americans have been urging. Not only would it lift the nation’s spirits, provide millions of new green jobs, as well as fulfill Obama’s commitment to be true to the science, but it would also stop any more Americans from becoming victims of marijuana prohibition. Now that would be something to celebrate this April 20th!

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

April 17, 2009

Time change for cannabis talk at Saturday LPWI convention in WI Dells

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, April 17, 2009

Just wanted to let folks know that my talk on WI cannabis laws at the WI Libertarian Party Convention is now scheduled for 2:00-2:50 pm, Saturday, April 18, 2009, at Monk's at the Wilderness, WI Dells, WI. Further info LPWI.org.

Posted by Gary at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2009

Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) still wants pot smokers to lose their driver's licenses, thinks they are criminals

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday April 15, 2009

As with his cynical and uncompassionate comments about the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act a year and a half ago, Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) continues to be a reliable advocate for demonizing cannabis and those who utilize it. Today, per the Badger Herald, Suder still wants pot smokers to lose their driver's licenses, despite a prudent change in state law. Suder deserves an earful from his constituents on this!

Doyle signs bills on drug offenders, fertilizer
Governor OKs new laws to allow judges more say on non-traffic violations, 4 other legislative pieces

Source: Badger Herald (UW EDU) click here.
by Rachel Vesco
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 00:08

Gov. Jim Doyle signed five bills into law on Wednesday, changing state regulations on fertilizer and sentencing for drug offenders.

One Senate bill, introduced by Sens. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, and Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, and Reps. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, and Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee, will allow individual judges to decide if a person convicted of a non-traffic drug conviction would have his or her driver’s license suspended.

According to Taylor spokesperson Eric Peterson, the new law will allow people to keep working since they will be able to drive to their jobs, keeping individuals out of prison and saving taxpayers’ money.

However, Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, who voted against the bill in the Assembly, said he disagreed, arguing the bill was soft on those who commit crime.

“If they didn’t break the law in the first place, they wouldn’t lose their license,” Suder said. “The governor loves being soft on criminals who break the law … and this is another way to do it.”


Posted by Gary at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2009

Madison NORML at the Wisconsin State Libertarian Convention this Saturday 4/18 in WI Dells

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just wanted to let folks know that I'm on the bill as a speaker at the Wisconsin Libertarian Party convention this Saturday, April 18, 2009, in WI Dells.

I'm scheduled for the 1:30-2:15 pm slot, and will be speaking about Wisconsin's cannabis laws as well as Q&A:

1:30 - 2:15 p.m. Gary Storck Wisconsin's Marijuana Laws

Gary Storck is the head of the Madison, Wisconsin chapter of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). He has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to get medical marijuana legislation passed in Wisconsin.

The full lineup is below:

Libertarian Party of Wisconsin

Common Sense for State Government

State Convention
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Monk's at the Wilderness, Wisconsin Dells

8:00 a.m. Registration

9:00 - 10:15 a.m. Executive Committee Meeting

10:15 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. General Membership Meeting

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 - 5:00 p.m. Speakers

12:30 - 1:20 p.m. Richard V. Campagna Libertarianism & Judicial
Richard Campagna is a multi-disciplinary professional with a long and distinguished record in public and community service. He is also an attorney and businessman, university instructor, and counselor. He was the official 2004 Libertarian Party Candidate for Vice President.

1:30 - 2:15 p.m. Gary Storck Wisconsin's Marijuana Laws

Gary Storck is the head of the Madison, Wisconsin chapter of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). He has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to get medical marijuana legislation passed in Wisconsin.

2:15 - 3:10 John Witte Education and the Market

John Witte is Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
His research has focused on educational choice. He has written, The Market Approach to Education (2001) and his current research is on charter schools; his new longitudinal study of the Milwaukee voucher program is slated to go through 2011.

Break 3:10 - 3:30 p.m

3:30 - 4:15 p.m. Gene German The Right To Bear Arms

Gene German is the founder of Wisconsin Patriots whose mission is to restore, exercise and preserve individual rights, including the right to be safe. He is also an AACFI Senior Firearms Instructor and his permit to carry training is certified by both the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification.

4:15 - 5:00 p.m. Ben Manski Bring the Guard Home Campaign

Ben Manski is the Executive Director of Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution as well as a Wisconsin attorney. He served as co-chair of the Green Party of the United States from 2001 through 2004. He was employed on the staffs of a number of environmental, social justice, pro-democracy, and education advocacy organizations throughout the 1990s.

Posted by Gary at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle: Political winds shift in favor of legalized pot

Posted by Gary Storck
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009

As a child of the 60's, I and millions of other Americans believed that cannabis would be be legalized in the 1970's. Unfortunately, the celebrating got ahead of the reality and the winds shifted in the other direction for a few decades. But now, hope is back in the air, as this SF Chronicle article explains.

Political winds shift in favor of legalized pot

Source: San Francisco Chronicle: click here
Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Saturday, April 11, 2009

(04-11) 20:45 PDT --

Marijuana has been a part of the American cultural landscape for nearly a century, tried by millions - including, apparently, the last three presidents and the current California governor.

So why has it taken so long to arrive at a political moment of truth - a full national debate about the legalization, taxation and regulation of cannabis?

Experts say an unprecedented confluence of factors might finally be driving a change on a topic once seen as politically too hot to handle.

Among them: the recession-fueled need for more public revenue, increased calls to redirect scarce law enforcement, court and prison resources, and a growing desire to declaw powerful and violent Mexican drug cartels. Also in the mix is a public opinion shift driven by a generation of Baby Boomers, combined with some new high-profile calls for legislation - including some well-known conservative voices joining with liberals.

Leading conservatives like former Secretary of State George Shultz and the late economist Milton Friedman years ago called for legalization and a change in the strategy in the war on drugs. This year mainstream pundits like Fox News' Glenn Beck and CNN's Jack Cafferty have publicly questioned the billions spent each year fighting the endless war against drugs and to suggest it now makes more financial and social sense to tax and regulate marijuana.

(snipped) Continue reading click here.

Posted by Gary at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2009

Madison NORML hosting Global Cannabis March Saturday May 2, 2009

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, April 11, 2009

Madison NORML will be among about 250 cities worldwide participating in the Global Marijuana March click here.

Madison's march will begin at the State Street steps of the Capitol and end at the Mifflin St. Block Party. The exact march route is still TBA. Gather at the State St. steps beginning at noon!

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

April 05, 2009

Monday starts process for Michigan medical marijuana program

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Michigan's new medical cannabis law prepares for full implementation!

Source: Detroit News click here

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Monday starts process for medical marijuana program
Charlie Cain / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing -- Five months after voters approved a ballot measure to allow people with "debilitating" illnesses and diseases to use marijuana, the state Monday begins taking applications for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program.

But it will take weeks before patients can legally use marijuana.

Once state health officials receive an application for approval they have 15 days to review it. If approved, the state will then mail out a picture ID card within five days.

"We should be issuing the cards probably by the end of April," said James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, which will oversee the program. Michigan is the 13th state to legalize medical marijuana.

A rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at Lansing's Gone Wired Café. Organizers expect as many as 200 people to attend. Buses will then take participants to the state's Ottawa Building in downtown Lansing to turn in their paperwork. It must include a certification form from a Michigan-licensed physician that the patient suffers from a medical problem covered under the new law. The registry card costs $100.

The doctor will have to vouch that a patient's pain and suffering could be lessened though marijuana use. Conditions include patients with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and Crohn's Disease. It also covers those with wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain or nausea, seizures and persistent muscle spasms. It's unknown how many people will qualify for the program, although those who backed the successful petition drive placing the question before voters estimated that it could be as many as 50,000.

"Some police departments are still resisting the law," said Brad Forrester, communications director for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, which is helping patients get marijuana.

"But judges are throwing these things our way," he said, adding that in at least three recent cases, judges have dismissed marijuana charges against people who will likely qualify under the law.

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

April 01, 2009

Associated Press: Michigan to start issuing IDs for medicinal pot users

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Michigan prepares to issue its first medical cannabis ID cards!

Michigan to start issuing IDs for medicinal pot users
by The Associated Press click here
Wednesday April 01, 2009, 6:44 AM

The state will begin issuing identification cards to people who want to use marijuana legally.

The Michigan Department of Community Health will issue the cards, which require users to provide a doctor's note recommending the drug for medicinal purposes. Applications can be mailed to the department starting Saturday or delivered in person Monday.

Saturday is also the deadline for the health department to finalize guidelines for the medical marijuana law approved by Michigan voters in November. It allows patients with cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma and other diseases to use marijuana to relieve symptoms.

Rae Ramsdell, the health department's health professions licensing director, tells the Detroit Free Press she's heard from about 120 people seeking applications for the card or information about getting a doctor's letter.

Posted by Gary at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)