California Alert! : Bill is wrong path for medical marijuana

By Dr. Ahimsa Porter Sumchai ; The San Francisco Examiner, Friday, Aug 1, 2014


Senate Bill 1262 was introduced to the state Senate on Feb. 21 by veteran legislator Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana. It is a medical marijuana bill designed to regulate physicians, dispensaries and cultivation sites via rigid government oversight.

Sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association…

As a licensed physician with a registered medical practice in San Francisco, I have reviewed the wording of SB 1262. The bill is highly punitive, clearly seeking to punish doctors who recommend medical marijuana. SB 1262 concerns me most because it duplicates and violates existing state and federal statutes that clarify physicians’ role in recommending medical marijuana.

In Conant v. McCaffrey (2002), the federal government was enjoined by the 9th U.S. District Court in San Francisco from punishing physicians for recommending medical marijuana. That ruling affirms physicians’ First Amendment right to make recommendations.

SB 1262 requires the Medical Board of California to audit any physician who recommends medical marijuana more than 100 times a year….

Click here to continue reading this really important critique.

John Entwistle Says: We oppose SB 1262. It is bad control freak reefer madness masquerading as regulation brought to you by the same folks who opposed Prop 215 back in 1995 when we were campaigning to pass it. This bill looks like it may hit the Governor’s desk so let’s all pray that he veto’s it. Additional info is available through the following links:

California Medi-Pot Regs Lose Major Support

Proposed California bill, SB 1262, would ban marijuana concentrates in the state if passed — A proposed bill would make it difficult to smoke marijuana in California.“

California Is Beginning to Compromise on Weed

FCA releases survey results on Senate Bill 1262

Editorial — In California, a way out of the medical marijuana morass, LA Times, August 1, 2014

The White House Tries, Fails to Explain Why Marijuana Should Remain Illegal

By PHILIP M. BOFFEY,  the NY Times Blog on July 31, 2014 4:03 pm


No sooner had the Times published its opening editorials advocating legalization of marijuana than the White House fired back with an unconvincing response on its website. It argued that marijuana should remain illegal because of public health problems “associated” (always a slippery word) with increased marijuana use.

Careful readers will immediately see the White House statement for what it is: A pro forma response to a perceived public relations crisis, not a full-fledged review of all the scientific evidence, pro and con. The White House is actually required by law to oppose all efforts to legalize a banned drug.

Besides, it is hypocritical for the White House, whose chefs brew beer for the president, to oppose legalizing marijuana, which poses far less risk to consumers and society than does alcohol. …

Here are our responses to the four main public health contentions made by the White House.

Click here to read this hot article in its entirety.

What Obama Can Do to Loosen Marijuana Laws, Even Without Congress

By Katie Zavadski in the New Yorker magazine, July 30, 2014


Ever since the New York Times came out of the cannabis closet Sunday and endorsed legalized marijuana for those of legal drinking age, DI has been wondering what real drug-policy changes we can expect on the federal front. Though Colorado’s Representative Jared Polis introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 in the 113th Congress, the legislation didn’t go anywhere and we’re really not holding our breath.

So we got to thinking — is there a way to bypass all that? Can the stroke of an admitted stoner’s pen change drug policy for potsterity?

It turns out, the answer is yes — simply by changing how pot is classified.

Click here to read this excellent article.

New York Times: Let States Decide on Marijuana

Game changer of an editorial published July 27, 2014


That law, so antique that it uses the spelling “marihuana,” is still on the books, and is the principal reason that possessing the substance … is considered illegal by the United States government. Changing it wouldn’t even require an act of Congress — the attorney general or the secretary of Health and Human Services could each do so — although the law should be changed to make sure that future administrations could not reimpose the ban.

It’s hard for the public to take seriously a law that says marijuana and heroin have exactly the same “high potential for abuse,” since that ignores the vastly more addictive power of narcotics, which have destroyed the lives of millions of people around the world. (There are no documented deaths from a marijuana overdose.) The 44-year refusal of Congress and eight administrations to alter marijuana’s place on Schedule I has made the law a laughingstock, one that states are openly flouting.

John Entwistle says: Click here to read this important opinion piece. We do take exception to one part of the Times’ proposal which is quoted below:

"Consuming marijuana is not a fundamental right that should be imposed on the states by the federal government, in the manner of abortion rights, health insurance, or the freedom to marry a partner of either sex. It’s a choice that states should be allowed to make based on their culture and their values, and it’s not surprising that the early adopters would be socially liberal states like Colorado and Washington, while others hang back to gauge the results."

John Entwistle continues: This is just plain wrong. Medical pot is as important to patients in Kansas and Texas as it is to us in California. This is why federal action should start with rescheduling pot to Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act with all normal follow through to encourage the states to follow suit in the interest of uniformity. The two Bills mentioned are interesting but not the first step by far, although the “Hands off medical states DEA Bill” is a nice motion in the right direction.

New Report: Medical pot trumps recreational in Colorado as the smoke clears.

Excerpt from: The Denver Post , July 23, 2014

Medical pot is cheaper (7.62 percent sales tax in Denver as opposed to 21.12 percent at retail outlets) and more widely available. And while it requires a doctor’s permission, that has been notoriously easy to secure.

Heavy users — those who consume marijuana every day — “drive almost 70 percent of total marijuana demand,” the Department of Revenue study says. No wonder medical marijuana sales dwarfed retail sales in the first four months of this year — $133 million vs. $70 million — while tax revenues from retail pot are lagging far behind projections.

Click here to read this excellent opinion piece by Vincent Carroll, the Denver Post editorial page editor.

Click here to read the study prepared for the Colorado Department of Revenue. It contains some great statistics about how much pot is being consumed in Colorado. Wow!

Marijuana Considered for Looser Restrictions by U.S. FDA

Excerpt from Bloomberg; By Anna Edney 2014-06-20

U.S. regulators are studying whether restrictions on marijuana should be eased, a step toward decriminalizing the drug at the federal level.

The Food and Drug Administration is conducting an analysis at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s request on whether the U.S. should downgrade the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, said Douglas Throckmorton, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs at the FDA, at a congressional hearing.

John Entwistle says: Click here to read the petition yourself. This was filed on November 30, 2011 by the governors of four states. All previous petitions were filed by marijuana legalization activists and were denied but this one is different. We predict that this petition will be granted and the result will be the removal of pot from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This is what we have worked our entire lives to make happen.

Senate Could Follow House In Blocking DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana

Excerpt from: The Huffington Post (6-19-2014)

WASHINGTON — The Senate could soon follow the House in banning the Drug Enforcement Administration from using its budget to crack down on states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday introduced a Senate amendment to the Justice Department budget bill that would restrict DEA agents and federal prosecutors from using allotted funds to pursue providers of and patients using medical marijuana in the 22 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized its use.

JE Says: This is a fast breaking story. The Huffpost is doing good work following it and their article has some excellent links. My spin: We’re on the road to rescheduling at the federal level.

New York State Reaches Deal On Medical Marijuana, But There’s A Huge Catch


Excerpt from: The Huffington Post (6-19-2014)

The Compassionate Care Act, the governor said, will make medical marijuana accessible to patients suffering from certain diseases, including AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and cancer.

The bill, however, prohibits patients from smoking the drug. Instead, doctors can only prescribe edibles, tinctures or vaporizers. Of the 22 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, only Minnesota also bans smoking of the drug, which some experts say is the most effective method of delivery for many patients.

JE says: You gotta start somewhere… Click here to read this excellent article.

For even more info and good quotes: “New York State Reaches Multiple Last-Minute Deals — Agreement Reached to Legalize Medical Marijuana, but No Smoking to Be Allowed” – Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2014

GOP House Backs State Medical Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON May 30, 2014 (AP)

By ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Libertarian-minded and moderate Republicans joined forces early Friday morning with Democrats in an early morning House vote to block the federal government from interfering with states that permit the use of medical marijuana.

The unusual coalition produced a surprising 219-189 vote in the GOP-controlled House that reflects more permissive public attitudes toward medical pot use. It ran counter to the drug’s official classification as holding “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”

Click here to read this story…

US Attorney General Eric Holder admits using marijuana

America’s top law official says he experimented with drugs during his college years

The Telegraph (UK 15 Apr 2014) reports:

Mr Holder joins a growing list of senior American officials who have admitted to drug use in their past, including President Barack Obama, who has said he smoked marijuana at high school.

Around half of the prisoners in US jails are incarcerated for drug offences, with arrests for marijuana possession surpassing those for all violent crimes combined.

A study by the the Federal Bureau of Investigation has found that an American is arrested for a marijuana-related offence every 42 seconds on average.

Click here to read this story with good quotes and a nice picture at The Telegraph website. The HuffingtonPost also did an article on this general topic with more quotes and interesting background links.