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May 31, 2009

Letter in Madison's weekly Isthmus: Edwards: wrong about everything?

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've been so busy I had not yet gotten around to reading Madison's weekly Isthmus and was pleasantly surprised to find my letter below.

Source: Isthmus click here
Pubdate: 29 May 2009
Author: Gary Storck

EDWARDS: WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING?

I knew John Edwards was only in it for himself when he failed to support medical marijuana, even with his wife undergoing treatment for terminal cancer ("The Undoing of John Edwards" 5/15/09). But Edwards reached full weasel status for me when asked about marijuana decriminalization during a debate in October 2007. He opposed it "Because I think it sends the wrong signal to young people, and I think the president of the United States has the responsibility to ensure that we're sending the right signals to young people."

Edwards spoke these words while concealing his marital infidelity from supporters and the nation he sought to lead. Talk about wrong signals!

Gary Storck
Madison NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)

Posted by Gary at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2009

June 7 WI Capitol Medical Cannabis vigil start time pushed back

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, May 30, 2009

The start/end times for the Sunday, June 7, 2009, Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY.org), vigil at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison have been pushed back a half hour.

The vigil will be held on the landing at the top of the State St. steps, just outside of the Capitol building, from 8:00-10:00 pm. Candles with open flames are prohibited, but a limited number of battery-powered LED candles will be available to participants.

This "candlelight" vigil is one of three being held nationwide at this time on June 7 to remember medical cannabis patients, with others held at the Statehouse in Trenton NJ and the federal building in Peoria IL.

For more information contact Gary Storck at 608-241-8922 or visit IMMLY.org or the IMMLY Vigil event page on Facebook: click here.

Posted by Gary at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2009

NORML on Larry Zamba show on WLIP 1050 AM Kenosha WI Saturday

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, May 29, 2009

Just wanted to let folks know that Allen St. Pierre, executive director of national NORML in Washington DC, and myself, representing Wisconsin NORML/Madison NORML, will be on Larry Zamba's progressive talk radio show this Saturday May 30 on WLIP AM 1050 in the Kenosha WI area click here. The show airs from 4-5 pm.

WLIP can be heard from Milwaukee to Chicago, and the show can be streamed live: click here. Please tune in, and if you like, join the discussion by calling (262) 694-1050.

Posted by Gary at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2009

Vigil for Medical Cannabis patients at WI State Capitol June 7, other vigils in NJ & IL

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Sunday, June 7, 2009, Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY.org), will host a vigil to remember victims of medical marijuana prohibition, past and present, at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.

The vigil will be held on the landing at the top of the State St. steps, just outside of the Capitol building, from 7:30-9:30 pm. Candles with open flames are prohibited, but a limited number of battery-powered LED candles will be available to participants.

This "candlelight" vigil is one of three being held nationwide at this time on June 7 to remember medical cannabis patients, with others held at the Statehouse in Trenton NJ and the federal building in Peoria IL.

For more information contact Gary Storck at 608-241-8922 or visit IMMLY.org or the IMMLY Vigil event page on Facebook: click here.

Posted by Gary at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009

Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival poster/shirt design contest!

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Madison NORML is having a contest for the design of this year's Harvest Fest poster/shirt design!

Madison NORML presents the 39th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival poster/shirt design contest. Submit your entries by August 9th to contests@winorml.org.

Madison NORML will vote on the entries at their August 10th meeting and meets the Second and Fourth Monday of each month, except major holidays, at 7:00 p.m. at Escape Java's, at 940 Williamson St (behind La Rocca's) on Madison's East Side.

Madison's Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival began as a marijuana smoke-in in 1971. Now in its 39th year, Harvest Fest has a long history of promoting cannabis hemp legalization and free speech while providing an annual celebration for like minded people to join together.

Details:
13"x9" poster size 600dpi minimum/T-shirt design

Include:
39th Annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival
October 1-4, 2009
Madison, WI

Room for event details: Bands, speakers, and any other details will be added to final proofs/designs for T-shirts (back) and posters when finalized. No need for blank space, just somewhere for the text to go on the poster.

www.madisonhempfest.com

Winner must provide a 600dpi copy for printing. A compressed (jpg) version can be sent to contests@winorml.org for selection.

Contest winner will receive a framed poster on a special paper stock and a T-shirt with their design. Winner will also receive assorted NORML "schwag" including a Madison NORML shirt of their preferred size.

Disclaimer: All designs submitted become property of Madison NORML to be used for promoting said event. Any additions or modifications will be done with artists consent.

Questions can be sent to contests@winorml.org

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

May 25, 2009

Live Legal Medicine Blues from 2007 IMMLY/Madison NORML benefit at Cardinal Bar in Madison

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, May 25, 2009

Here is a video from the IMMLY/Madison NORML medical cannabis benefit at the Cardinal Bar in Madison on Friday, October 6, 2007. The Riddiough-Shanahan Band plays the traditional singalong version of Rick Harris' "Legal Medicine Blues". Rick Harris was inspired to write LMB after meeting Jacki Rickert while playing IMMLY's first benefit at Mother Fools Coffee in 2001. Read more about this great song click here

Posted by Gary at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2009

UP Michigan cop lies about new medical cannabis law

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, May 18, 2009

While the majority of law enforcement officers no doubt realize the futility of cannabis prohibition overall and understand alcohol makes their jobs much harder than pot ever would, at least one UP Michigan drug task force leader has resorted to outright lying about the state's new medical cannabis law.

Medical marijuana is ‘nightmare’ for some
By Audrey LaFave
POSTED: May 18, 2009
Source: Daily Press: click here

ESCANABA - A law enforcement official from the Upper Peninsula Substance Abuse Enforcement Team called Michigan's newly-legalized medical marijuana law "a nightmare."

Det. Lt. Jeff Racine of UPSET discussed the new law and its implications for police agencies and county prosecutors. He said the law is ambiguous and has a lot of loopholes.

"The problem with these new laws is they are not fully understood," Racine said. "It's going to be a nightmare for law enforcement because there are so many loopholes."

Racine said the confusion may cause officers to get to the point where they may not enforce what law is left regarding marijuana, for fear of litigation.

"People said this would be like a small step towards the complete legalization of marijuana. This is more like a major jump towards legalizing it," he said.

Racine also said there is not a lot of talk about some of the negative side effects or the fact, he said, that marijuana is a gateway drug.

"Not every person who smokes marijuana becomes a crack smoker or a heroin user, but every person who does the hard stuff started with marijuana," he explained.

Racine said statistics show us that there are 10 times more people driving vehicles under the influence of drugs than there are drunks on the road.

"The way the law was written, it is written in favor of the user and against law enforcement. Do you want the brakes changed on your car by a guy who smoked marijuana on his lunch hour? A very large percentage of people are going to abuse this law," he said.

Racine also said it's likely many people will try to cloak themselves in the law wrongfully.

"Probably 90 percent of the medical defenses are going to be false, and that's a low guess," he said.


Posted by Gary at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2009

Entry level activism: Handing out information on MS and medical cannabis at a Wisconsin MS Walk on May 3

Posted by Gary Storck
Monday, May 11, 2009

Last weekend we had the Global Cannabis March Madison on Saturday May 2, and then on Sunday May 3, I joined a trio of local activists for a very laid back yet productive bit of activism.

Each year chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society hold MS Walks around the country. Jim Miller of New Jersey and his wife Cheryl pioneered this back in the 1990's and they hit numerous walks up until Cheryl passed from complications of MS in June 2003. Since then, Jim has continued to hand out literature at MS walks, but with little help until this year, with a bill in play in NJ.

May 3 was my first MS Walk, and I found it was as low impact as Jim had often described. Even though we had the location wrong and showed up late, we still handed out over 400 fliers explaining how to contact state lawmakers and details of the bill to walkers crossing the finish line!

This shows just how easy it is to help spread the word about medical cannabis and still have most of the day to take care of your daily activities.

The flier we handed out, adapted from Jim Miller's NJ design: Download file


Posted by Gary at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2009

Letter in Capital Times: Jail over medical marijuana akin to torture

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, May 8, 2009

Bryan Epis is a good man who has been horribly mistreated by federal authorities. Here's a plea for justice for a true American hero who was just trying to help patients get their medicine.

Source: Capital Times click here
Pubdate: 8 May 2009
Author: Gary Storck

JAIL OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA AKIN TO TORTURE

Dear Editor: A recent letter writer called for the removal of U.S. Judge Jay Bybee for writing memos supporting torture when he was part of the Bush administration. Bybee was also part of a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that recently reaffirmed the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence of California medical cannabis provider Bryan Epis, on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana.

Epis' case began in 1997, shortly after the passage of California's groundbreaking medical cannabis law by voters in 1996. According to NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), Epis' appeal was filed on various grounds, including prosecutorial misconduct and "the unclarity of the law at the time of his arrest." The judges did not even bother to hold a hearing, only issuing an 11-page denial.

Bryan Epis has already served part of the sentence, and he and his family have already been tortured enough by federal authorities. It is incredibly disgusting that torture was used widely to further our foreign policies in the Bush administration. Denying medicine to sick people and engaging in long, wasteful prosecutions of patients trying to help others legally under state laws, as Bryan Epis did, is a stain on a nation that claims to be an example of freedom and democracy. Not only should Bybee be impeached for his torture memos, but Bryan Epis deserves a full pardon under the new policy announced by Attorney General Eric Holder that state medical cannabis laws will be respected.

Gary Storck

Madison

Posted by Gary at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2009

Letter in WI State Journal: Another reason for peaceful block party

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, May 7, 2009

Here's a letter I wrote that was published in today's WI State Journal. The reception our march received once we turned the corner on to Mifflin St. was incredible and the cheering only got louder as we proceeded onward. Partygoers lined up to be photographed with our marchers and our banners. We were the bright shiny thing emanating good vibes. In the words of the Gov. of California and new supporter of Cannabis Legalization, Arnold Schwarzenegger, "We'll be back in 2010, Mifflin!"

Source: Wisconsin State Journal click here
Pubdate: 7 May 2009
Author: Gary Storck

ANOTHER REASON FOR PEACEFUL BLOCK PARTY

Sunday's article about the Mifflin Street Block Party should have been titled "Pot paraders pacify partiers."

Alcohol, the legal drug of choice for Mifflin partiers, is a depressant. Cannabis produces euphoria. The good vibes given off by the Global Cannabis Marchers stuck around long enough to keep everything much more peaceful and the result was less violence and fewer arrests this year. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

-- Gary Storck, co-founder, Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws


Posted by Gary at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

FdL Reporter: High court ruling changes protocol for police searches

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another article on the effect of the recent SCOTUS ruling on Wisconsin police stops and searches.

High court ruling changes protocol for police searches
Source: Fond du Lac Reporter: click here
May 7, 2009
By Russell Plummer The Reporter

Policies covering 28 years of routine car searches in Fond du Lac County have been tweaked after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

On April 21, the highest court in the land — in the case of Arizona v. Gant — rejected the automatic application of the Search Incident to Arrest Doctrine, noting that people in custody no longer pose a threat or can conceal evidence.

The decision limits performing a search of a car to two factors: the arrested individual is not restrained and within reaching distance of the vehicle's passenger compartment during the search, or an officer finds probable cause that the vehicle contains evidence of the arrest.

Fond du Lac Police Department Lt. Aaron Goldstein said he is following the guidance of Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General Dave Perlman when training officers about searches.

Goldstein offered the example of a driver who has a warrant for operating after revocation. He said that in the past, an arrest could happen after an officer searched the vehicle.

"It's not going to change the way we do business when we have an arrest (and) you see something like drugs or open intoxicants in plain view or smell recently burnt marijuana," Goldstein said. "There are exceptions when you have probable cause to search the vehicle.

"What Gant did is really getting it down to mere fact. Just the mere fact that somebody is in a vehicle that we justifiably stop, there has to be something more to that story to perform a search."

Fond du Lac County Sheriff Mick Fink said the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision likely will not have a significant impact on his deputies.

"(Gant) isn't going to change us turning on the red and blues," Fink said. "If you are arrested for something, you are arrested. It's just going to effect how the deputy, in our case, searches the vehicle after you are arrested."

Goldstein noted that allowing a person to stand outside a vehicle during a search is a concern with the Police Department.

"It's not worth the officer safety concern. If we are going to be searching the vehicle, the search is going to be justified, it is going to be based on a reasonable suspicion, it's going to be based on probable cause," Goldstein said. "We are not going to have the person sitting in the vehicle while we search their car or within a grab/lunge/reach area because of the (weapons) and equipment we carry."

He added that defense attorneys could also pick apart the location of the defendant outside of the vehicle relative to the search.

Chief Deputy Mark Strand said a majority of vehicle searches come up empty. He and Fink added that they are not opposed to a deputy watching over an unrestrained person as another officer searches the car.

(snip) Continues: click here

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

May 03, 2009

Global Cannabis March in Madison exceeds all expectations!

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, May 3, 2009

Madison's Global Cannabis March on Saturday went very well. Attendees gathered at the State St. steps and heard impromptu speeches delivered by bullhorn before heading out. An attendee from Milwaukee brought the bullhorn, saving the day after a promised sound system failed to materialize.

gmm-blog.jpg

It was the bullhorn that saved the day again as members of the UW-Milwaukee Students for Sensible drug policy and others led attendees in chants, some made up on the spur of the moment, as we wound through downtown.

The march size swelled while progressing down State St. and then heading to Mifflin. Arriving at Miffland, GCM Marchers were greeted with deafening cheers and applause.

The GCM definitely elevated the Mifflin Party into a truly fun event, creating a welcome distraction from the usual activities, drinking beer and drinking beer, then having a beer before tipping another beer.

Miffland partiers posed for pictures with marchers gathered behind a WI NORML banner and "Is My Medicine Legal YET?" and "Pass the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act signs.

Facebook members can find video clips and phots that I took at the festivities.

Meanwhile, the WI State Journal came up with an article about Miffland Partiers that was more about our march:

Source: Wisconsin State Journal click here

Pubdate: May 2, 2009
Author: RON SEELY


MIFFLIN STREET TRADITION OFF TO 'CALM, WELL-BEHAVED' START

Of all the sights on West Mifflin Street on Saturday, none seemed more reassuring than long-time marijuana activist Ben Masel, his hair pulled back in a graying pony tail, toting a sign that read "Grow Hemp Save Farms."

Amid all the partying, Masel, 55, seemed at least an echo of the first Mifflin Street block party 40 years ago, born in 1969 during the politically charged days of the Vietnam War protests.

The more mainstream 40th anniversary edition of a Madison springtime tradition, fueled by sun and warm temperatures and beer, was in full swing by 2 p.m. on Saturday with hundreds of students filling Mifflin curb to curb and others jammed onto the sagging porches and balconies of the street's old two-story homes.

Police, on horses and in cars and on foot, were much in presence. Nearby streets were blockaded and signs reading "No open alcohol, no glass, no public urination," greeted party-goers.

Despite the prime spring weather and the swelling, swilling crowds, few problems had surfaced by late afternoon, according to Rachel Strauch-Nelson, a spokeswoman for Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. She reported only a handful of arrests, though the number was expected to go up as day turned into evening.

"Things are going well at this point," said Strauch-Nelson at mid-afternoon Saturday. "The crowd is calm and well-behaved."

About 120 officers with Madison and Dane County were on patrol during the event, which is expected to draw at least 15,000 people, mostly students. Considering that the first Mifflin Street party ended with police and students squaring off in riots that lasted three days, the relationship between law enforcement and party-goers seemed friendly enough Saturday with smiling officers frequently agreeing to pose with students for photos.

Most law enforcement efforts seemed directed at keeping beer drinkers on the grounds of private residences where open alcohol containers were legal, as opposed to the street and sidewalks.

T-shirt sales were brisk, driven by both the good weather and the 40th anniversary. Brynne and Erin McBride, twin sisters who work with ABC For Health, were hawking T-shirts from a back door of the non-profit, now housed in the old Mifflin Street Co-op building. The T-shirts read "The Revolution Continues, Mifflin Street, 1969-2009."

"We're keeping the Mifflin Street spirit alive," said Brynne.

Most other T-shirts were somewhat less inspiring. "I Would Rather Be a Good Liver Than Have One, Mifflin '09," read another.

With a stage and a disc jockey spinning tunes and food carts up and down the street, a search for the goofiness of some of the old Mifflin Street parties took a while. But the strangeness could be found Saturday afternoon in the 400 block where Alex Scherer-Jones did yo-yo tricks for beer and money. At his feet sat a cardboard box inscribed with the words "Drunk People Love Yo-Yos." In the box were two beers and a pile of bills.

Few had as much perspective as Masel, who led a march advocating the legalization of marijuana from the Capitol Square to Mifflin at noon. Masel said his first block party was in 1971, two years after the first. Saturday, he and about about 150 others carrying signs and chanting "We smoke pot, we like it a lot," paraded onto Mifflin and were greeted with wild cheers and applause.

"We did this to sort of demonstrate that some of the spirit remains," said Masel.

Posted by Gary at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 01, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009: Global Cannabis March: Madison

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday. May 1, 2009

Happy May Day everyone, and don't forget the Global Marijuana March: Madison, this Saturday, May 2, beginning at noon at the State Street steps of the Capitol, proceeding to the Mifflin St. Block Party!

Global Cannabis March: Madison
Madison and over 257 other cities worldwide

Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009
Time: 12:00 noon
Gather at State St. steps of Wisconsin State Capitol, March to Mifflin St. Block Party

The Global Cannabis March returns to Madison after a several year absence. Join Wisconsin NORML, Madison NORML and MATC Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and other groups for this event. Gather at State St. steps of WI State Capitol at noon, march route TBA, concludes at Mifflin St. Block Party.

Facebook Event Page:
(http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656790912&ref=name#/event.php?eid=67650113261)

Posted by Gary at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)