Be Part of ASA/CaNORML
Citizens MJ Lobby Day in Sacramento
ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento has always been a special event that is informative, productive and fun. For 2017 they are being joined by CaNORML to coordinate and create the largest, most rewarding and successful Citizen Lobby Day ever!
On Monday, June 5, they are expecting over 300 participants representing patients, advocates, providers, industry workers and others to participate in the state's largest cannabis lobby day.
It’s an amazing experience in the democratic process as you take part in the legislative briefing and lobbyist training which will give you the information and skills you need to meet with your state assembly member and state senator that very same day. Citizen lobbying works - Research shows that an in-person visit from a constituent like you is six times more likely to influence an undecided lawmaker than a visit from a paid lobbyist.
This year’s legislative briefing is highlighted with a presentation by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, author of AB 1578, the California ganja sanctuary bill.
ASA’s Citizen Lobby Day has always been extraordinary – everyone who has participated has always felt it was one of the most satisfying days they have spent in a long long time and look forward to participating again. Take a look at the complete schedule of events and lobbying and you will see why - just CLICK HERE.
Want to join in – you can!
Every year we rent a van and bring 10 to 15 IE residents to Sacramento for Citizen Lobby Day. Let me assure you that getting there is half the fun!
We will leave on Sunday, June 4 at 9 a.m. and will pick up at several locations along the travel route in the IE from Palm Spring to Riverside and San Bernardino. We arrive in Sacramento at around 6 p.m. and check in at a local motel. We go for dinner and for those who want, after dinner we will join ASA and NORML at a social cannabis-friendly event.
On Monday, June 5 we go to the Legislative Briefing and Lobbyist Training at the Citizen’s Hotel in downtown Sacramento. In the afternoon you will go to the State Capitol Building and to the offices of your state assembly member and senator. ASA will make appointments for you, so you will be expected. You will most likely meet with the legislator’s Chief Legislative Aide, but it is not unusual to meet with your actual state assembly member and senator.
After the lobbying, we reconvene in the Scandal Lounge at 5:30 p.m. in the Citizen Hotel for a VIP Reception with lawmakers and other state officials. We leave about 7:00 p.m. for home arriving back in the IE around 2 or 3 a.m.
Yes it is a very full day – one that you will tell everyone you know about. You are not on the sideline looking in – you actually participate in our democracy! And it’s all for cannabis – your right to safe, reliable, local and affordable access.
Yes you will actually be able tell your grandkids what you did to end marijuana prohibition.
The cost is only $85 per person. This includes transportation, lodging (two to a room) and all registration and reception fees. We will dine together if you chose, but all food purchases are on your own. The motel rooms have microwaves and refrigerators as well as free-internet.
There is only room for 12 people in the party van and their are only four seats left – so don’t delay and miss out on this enlightening and fun trip. Email me at [email protected] and reserve your seat in the van, your room in the motel and most of all you participation in grassroots cannabis activism.
If you want to go, but needs some help to cover the cost, let me know and I will see if I can rustle up a scholarship or two.
If you can take off on Sunday June 4 and Monday June 5 and don’t need much sleep to function on Tuesday or can just sleep on Tuesday, then don’t miss this extraordinary day. I guarantee you will not regret attending and will look back on it for many years as something that you participated in and accomplished and are very proud of.
For more information on the ASA/CaNORML Citizen Lobby Days CLICK HERE.
Coming to the CaDEM Convention?
Join us at the
Brownie Mary Democrats
Annual Meeting & Award Banquet
You are invited to join the Brownie Mary Democrats of California at their annual banquet meeting during the 2017 California Democratic Party state convention in Sacramento on Saturday, May 20 at 6:30 p.m. The Guest of Honor and featured speaker is Eddy Lepp.
Eddy has just been released from prison after serving 8 years for growing medicinal marijuana on his farm. An outspoken and colorful advocate, this will be his first public appearance since being released. If you don’t know much about Eddy, who is indeed a true cannabis icon, CLICK HERE.
The CaDEM state convention is taking place at the Sacramento Convention Center from Friday, May 19 – Sunday, May 21 and you are welcome to attend both the BMD-CA banquet on May 20 and the state convention. Although the general sessions are open only to delegates, you are able to attend any of the 19 caucus meetings ranging from progressive to native America to environmental to veteran.
You can also visit the exhibit area where there are 50 or more information booths sponsored by Democratic, progressive, civil liberties, labor, health care and other organizations. BMD-CA will have a booth there and you are cordially invited to join us.
There are also the hospitality suites in the evening beginning at 10 p.m. many serving drinks and desserts. Sponsored by elected officials, candidates for office, businesses and organizations, they are the social highlight of the convention and are not to be missed.
The CaDEM state convention is one of the best places to actually meet elected Democratic officials, both statewide and local as well as connect with Democratic grassroots activists from your community. If you have never been to a state convention, it is the real grassroots of political activism and well worth going to see. For more information on the California Democratic Convention CLICK HERE.
If you find this at all intriguing, then come on down to Sacramento and the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814 on Saturday, May 20 and make a day of it, visiting the exhibit area and the Brownie Mary booth, attending some caucus meetings, visiting the hospitality suites and hobnobbing with 3,000+ delegates and the 1,000+ elected officials, party officers and other convention attendees. You do not have to be a Democrat to attend the convention.
You are welcome to join BMD-CA for our evening banquet and meet and hear Eddy Lepp. The banquet is being held at the Old Spaghetti Factory, 1910 J St, Sacramento, CA 95811, which is about 3 blocks from the Sacramento Convention Center. The banquet starts at 6:30 p.m. and in addition to Eddy’s appearance, there will be some interesting but short presentations and a silent auction.
There are only 50 seats available at the banquet, so it is expected to sell-out. Tickets are $25 and can be obtained by CLICKING HERE.
If you have any questions or need more info email me at [email protected] or call me at 760-799-2055.
Will AB 1578,
the Only Game In Town to Thwart the Feds,
Make it to Second Base?
On Friday, I, along with members of the Brownie Mary Democrats and the Drug Policy Alliance, met with Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer, primary sponsor of AB 1578 which will prevent police from assisting federal police in arresting, prosecuting or imprisoning marijuana providers who are following state law.
Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer explained how he came to submit this legislation and how it would work. As much as I think the feds should completely stay out of California, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer explained that his bill will only protect those providers who are in compliance with state law. That means if they are rogue operators who have not obtained local and state licenses, local police can still can assist the feds in going after them.
This makes the opposition to his bill by the California Chiefs of Police Association and the California State Sheriff’s Association all the more hypocritical and disrespectful of the voters of California.
Police should be overjoyed that they have the green-light to utilize federal resource personnel to go after marijuana providers in their community who are operating illegally. They ought to be grateful that a licensed and regulated marijuana distribution system has been put in place that will increase their donut eating time by ending enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws against otherwise law-abiding citizens and decrease the number of black market operators and the problems associated with any criminal enterprise.
After all they seem to have no problem with legal distributors of alcohol and tobacco and extensively utilize their resources and those of other government agencies to go after people selling alcohol and tobacco without a license. Police even killed a man in New York who was selling individual cigarettes without a license.
Police are well aware that a legal regulated market will in time significantly reduce illegal sales. This clearly shows that their agenda is not public safety, but rather their desire to continue to rake in millions of dollars in tax money and asset forfeiture by keeping marijuana illegal.
We got to first base when the Assembly’ Public Safety Committee voted last week on a party-line vote to approve and send to the floor AB 1578. Don’t get to giddy about this as this success has to be tempered with the understanding that Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer is the Chairperson of that committee. It is still considered an uphill battle to get this legislation passed as police are extensively lobbying state legislators with their scare tactics of increased crime, availability to children, stoned drivers and scariest of all a threat to endorse a more cop-compliant opponent in the next election.
Do the right thing and successfully counter their intimidating tactics by taking 60 seconds to send your assembly member an email asking them to vote for AB 1578. If you want to do the super-right thing you can go full-throttle boogie and spend three minutes to give them a phone call. It is really is easy and can really help convince your assembly member to vote YES. To find out just how easy it is – CLICK HERE.
MAY MAPP MEETINGS FEATURE
ANTI-DRUG DISORDER and
AN INSIDER LOOK AT AB 1578
All three May MAPP meetings feature drug use educator Richard Gicomeng speaking on THE REALITY OF A DRUG SAFETY POLICY IS THAT IT SAVES LIVES. As part of the presentation, Richard will examine Anti-Drug Disorder - a progressive disease process that is characterized by the obsession to apply control policy despite its adverse consequences. For additional information on the scope of the presentation CLICK HERE.
I will be presenting a comprehensive update on AB 1578 including a behind-the-scenes account of my meeting with Assemblyman Reginal Jones-Sawyer, the bill’s sponsor. From legislative maneuvering to Gov. Jerry Brown’s leanings, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer is a wealth of information that is both educational and fascinating.
From learning to recognize Anti-Drug Disorder and protecting both medical and adult-use marijuana cultivators, manufacturers and distributors from the feds plus a delicious assortment of cookies with milk, I would look forward to seeing you at any of our May MAPP meeting.
Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Saturday, May 6 at 12 noon - Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, May 6 at 3 p.m. - Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
WILL PROP. 64 PUT MJ ATTORNEYS
Famed MJ attorney Bruce Margolin
Takes a Nuanced Look
For the last 75 years, attorneys have made a very good living defending people accused of a broad variety of marijuana crimes. With the advent of legalization, will these attorneys have to look elsewhere for clients? On this podcast of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense, one of the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys on marijuana law takes a look at what marijuana legalization means for lawyers.
Bruce Margolin is a dedicated criminal defense attorney who successfully defended his clients against all types of accusations from marijuana to murder. For more than 40 years Mr. Margolin has successfully pursued justice on his clients’ behalf and defended their rights to be free of illegal searches and their rights that assure a fair trial.
With almost 50 years of courtroom experience in defending persons accused of an extensive variety of crimes, he has specialized in marijuana and drug cases successfully defending more marijuana cases than any other attorney in the country. He has written one of the most comprehensive and easy to read explanations of the California and Federal Marijuana laws that exists today, The Margolin Guide to Marijuana Laws.
Additionally he has served as the Director of the Los Angeles Chapter of NORML since 1973 and has been a candidate for Governor of California and U.S. Congress. Mr. Margolin has been selected numerous times to the list of California Super Lawyers and designated Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year. He has been actively involved in legislative reform initiatives, bar associations and other professional organizations.
There is so much to do to protect our rights to access marijuana and we could use a little help from our friends.
Become a friend and hang out at our 420 Club
Donate $4.20/month CLICK HERE TO JOIN
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A ONE-TIME DONATION
AG Sessions Threatens Federal Funding Cut Over Refusal To Enforce Federal Law
As Marijuana Policy Clouds Up
Police Caught in a Dilemma of their Own Making
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made headlines recently threatening to withhold federal funds from cities that have declared themselves Sanctuary Cities in that these cities will not allow local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration police in the arrest and detainment of undocumented immigrants.
Will Sessions use the same tactic of threatening to withhold federal funds to states that have passed Ganja Sanctuary laws like California’s AB 1578 which will prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with the feds in the arrest, prosecution or imprisonment of persons following California’s marijuana laws?
A lot may depend on whether Sessions can succeed with his threats against Sanctuary Cities.
In a report published by Fox News, the conservative news station stated:
Most experts agree that legal precedent — including a decision heralded by conservatives regarding Obamacare — makes clear that the federal government cannot broadly use federal funds as a stick by which to coerce local jurisdictions into certain actions. The government would likely be limited to pulling funds that it can prove are related to the policy it is targeting, namely immigration enforcement.
Which means that almost all the funds that will be withheld will be those that go to law enforcement.
This really pisses local police off. Although they are chopping at the bit to go after illegal immigrants along with their federal buddies, they are going to lose the very funds they get for going after illegal immigrants if their cities continue to refuse to allow them to participate in rounding up undocumented immigrants.
Losing money does not sit well with cops. The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco, said the union does not support the policies of Sanctuary Cities, but they are concerned that if Sessions cuts funding for police. “he could put public safety at risk if he intends to cut federal grants to so-called Sanctuary Cities.”
The police would not be protesting the cut in funds if they were cuts to lunches for poor school kids, but since it is their lunch that is being threatened, they will beseech the President they helped elect not to go through with the threatened cuts if their cities do not back down in the face of Sessions’ threats.
Will the police protest the cuts in funding if the same threats are made by Sessions to states that have passed ganja sanctuary laws? Most likely but they are pulling out all the stops to make sure that doesn’t happen by fighting bills like California’s AB 1578 claiming it to be “offensive” and that legislators have no business telling “law enforcement how they want us to work.”
Click to Enlarge
There is little doubt that the states will win the argument on whether they can refuse to allow their police to aid in the enforcement of federal law. As also reported by FoxNEWS, Erwin Chemerinsky, Annie Lai and Seth Davis, professors at the University of California at Irvine School of Law, wrote that “the federal government can no more require state and local governments to help it carry out mass deportations than it can require local officers to investigate and enforce federal gun laws.”
If the police lose their bid to prevent California and other states from enacting Ganja Sanctuary laws, the same would hold true if a state refuses to allow the use of their police officers to enforce federal marijuana law – the only tangible threat the feds could make would be to once again withhold federal money from police.
Let’s not whitewash Trump here – Trump most certainly approves of Sessions threatening Sanctuary Cities and Trump is well aware of Session’s sabre rattling on marijuana. Although some may argue that Trump hasn’t the slightest idea what is going on anywhere let alone with his Dept. of Justice, Trump knows very well what is happening, but it is tip-toeing around the issue on marijuana.
Trump has not tweeted a single tweet about marijuana and marijuana is nothing if not “sensational.” This is not par for the course as Trump tweets on a broad variety of subjects at a moment’ notice and the more sensational the better. This silence speaks volumes about Trump’s confusion on the issue. Unlike immigration which has always been an issue he uses to solidify his populist credentials with his base, marijuana seems not to be on his radar screen.
What makes it so ironic, is that it is the police who want Trump to green-light enforcement of federal marijuana law, but if Trump follows through and cities and states don’t buckle, it will be the police that suffer the most.
This has got to be stranger than fiction.
Celebrating Earth Day Includes Celebrating Cannabis
On Sunday, April 23, San Diego held one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the country attracting 70,000 people to its storied Balboa Park. One of the major component of this year’s celebration was the section known as CannaVillage with over 50 booth and exhibits featuring marijuana organizations, hemp product displays, cannabis product companies from Dr. Bronner to Deviant Dabs and a plethora of local marijuana dispensaries handing out information about their product but no product - it was a focal point of the celebration.
I set-up a booth for Brownie Mary Democrats featuring our poster display of famous marijuana folk from Henry Anslinger and Louis Armstrong to Dennis Peron and Barbara Streisand. I must have spoken with and provided information about marijuana politics to several hundred people who visited the booth - everyone from marijuana enlightened millennials and their kids to their parents, grand-parents and great grand-parents.
Even though marijuana consumption was not allowed (I never saw one person light up or even take a hit off a pen) it is still mind-boggling that this event took part in and was sanctioned by the Earth Day sponsors as Earth Day has become almost as sacrosanct as Mother’s Day.
MAY MAPP MEETINGS
Examining Anti-Drug Disorder
and an Update on AB 1578
The May MAPP meetings are just around the corner so if you live in or will be visiting, mark the dates on your calendar to attend either the Moreno Valley/Western IE, Palm Springs/Coachella Valley or Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin MAPP meetings.
Our featured speaker at all three meetings will be Richard Gicomeng whose topic on Drug Use Education features an enlightening look at Anti-Drug Disorder - a progressive disease process that is characterized by the obsession to apply control policy despite its adverse consequences.
I will also be reporting on a meeting I will be attending on April 29 with Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer and the processes that need to be followed to not only get AB 1578 through the legislature, but to get Governor Brown to sign it.
Milk and cookies of course will be provided.
Wednesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Saturday, May 6 at 12 noon - Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, May 6 at 3 p.m. - Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252
Over the 20 years since the passage of Prop. 215, we have witnessed the perils and problems of implementing marijuana legislation. Patient cultivators and distributors arrested, the state legislature allowing local governments to ban distribution and patient cultivation and the overall creation of a hostile environment towards patient access to medical marijuana.
Although the passage of Prop. 64 may have solved the problem of people being arrested for possessing marijuana, it did little to solve the other problems found in Prop. 215. For businesses distributing marijuana or wanting to be involved in distributing marijuana, Prop. 215 and Prop. 64 have created a complex and politically charged infrastructure that will be sorted out by both local and state elected officials.
We must learn from the poor and haphazard implementation of Prop. 215 so that Prop. 64 is fully and properly implemented and that adults will have safe, reliable, local and affordable access to marijuana. The major takeaway is that the political environment for marijuana distributors has been controlled by those opposed to marijuana distribution, such as police and other regulatory agencies, and not by marijuana consumers, cultivators and distributors.
Currently, there are 44 bills in the California state legislature affecting and controlling the use and distribution of marijuana as permitted under both Prop. 215 and Prop. 64. To read about these 44 bills CLICK HERE. It is imperative that marijuana consumers, cultivators and distributors have an effective, respected and officially recognized voice to make their concerns known, addressed and implemented.
Whatever political party you may or may not identify with, the political reality is that the government of the state of California is totally controlled by the California Democratic Party. Every statewide office is held by a Democrat and both the state Senate and state Assembly have a super-majority so that no votes of any other political party are needed to pass any legislation.
As one of only six officially chartered organizations by the California Democratic Party, the Brownie Mary Democrats of California is the only pro-marijuana organization that has this kind of access to the legislators that are creating, amending and passing the laws that will affect marijuana consumers, cultivators, processors and distributors.
During the four years that the Brownie Mary Democrats have been part of the California Democratic Party, they have been responsible for the party adopting planks and resolutions calling on elected Democrats on all levels of government to support marijuana legalization, end enforcement of IRS code 280e preventing marijuana business from deducting expenses on federal taxes, seeking clemency for federal non-violent marijuana offenders in federal prison and for ending the denial of organ transplants to patients that use marijuana to treat their ailments.
Getting the California Democratic Party to support enactment of reasonable regulations and create a political environment in which marijuana businesses are recognized as part of the mainstream business community and accorded the same respect and treatment as other businesses is an accomplishment that the Brownie Mary Democrats is uniquely situated to achieve.
It is now time for the next step and that is to put these accomplishment to use by working with elected Democratic lawmakers towards developing legislation that advances the acceptance and availability of marijuana as well as opposition to legislation that seeks to curtail its distribution and a return to the prohibitionist laws that were repealed with the passage of Prop. 215 and Prop. 64.
As an officially chartered organization by the California Democratic Party, we are ideally situated to provide educational materials and dialogue with our legislators about the accepted and rising status of marijuana in our communities.
Whether it is the pharmaceutical companies, the petroleum industry or giant agricultural conglomerates, businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year supporting organizations that can work with and influence elected officials on issues of importance that affect their ability to do business. A most telling example is the funding by the gun industry and gun owners of local, state and national organizations. In California, the Brownie Mary Democrats is the best organization to represent the interests of marijuana consumers, cultivators, processors and distributors when it comes to convincing Democratic legislators to support bills that will benefit and oppose bills that do not.
One of the very best opportunities to connect with Democratic legislators on the federal, state and local level is at the annual state convention of the California Democratic Party. Over 3,000 elected delegates and another 1,000 elected state, local and party officials are in attendance creating the most advantageous, conducive and favorable environment for interacting with the people who are enacting and implementing the laws and regulations that will affect all strata of marijuana consumers and businesses.
In addition to interacting and providing information to 4,000+ Democrats at the state convention BMD-CA is also introducing a resolution calling on the Democratic Party and all Democratic officeholders to support AB 1578, a legislative bill introduced by Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer that would prevent state and local police or government agencies from cooperating with or providing assistance to any federal agency conducting raids to arrest, prosecute and/or imprison marijuana cultivators and providers.
This will be a tough bill to pass as it is opposed by the California Chiefs of Police Association, the California Sheriff's Association and the League of California Cities. The support of the California Democratic Party will be a major factor in helping Democratic legislators overcome the overbearing pressure of our opponents
To do this we need to have a first-rate and professional presence at the 2017 California Democratic Party convention from May 19 – 21 in Sacramento. Whether it’s $5, $50, $500 or more, I am asking for your financial assistance to give BMD-CA the resources to craft a positive impression and to develop the political influence to produce positive legislative results for marijuana consumers, cultivators, processors and distributors.
If you have the time, BMD-CA would be delighted to have you join them at the Sacramento Convention Center for the CaDEM State Convention. You could help staff their exhibit booth, attend all the meetings of the CaDEM caucuses (Progressive, Women, Native-American and more than a dozen other caucuses) and attend the annual meeting of the BMD-CA on Saturday, May 20 at 6 p.m. at the Old Spaghetti Factory located just 3 blocks from the Sacramento Convention Center.
Each contributor will receive a Certificate of Responsibility suitable for framing and display along with placement on a poster at the exhibit booth listing the names of contributors. Donations of $500 or more entitles you to two official observer passes that lets you and a guest attend the general sessions that are open only to delegates and that have featured speakers of the caliber of V.P. Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Jerry Brown.
YES, I understand the importance of developing an effective political presence with our elected officials and want to support the Brownie Mary Democrats to do so. To make the contribution at our website CLICK HERE.
You can also contribute the old fashion way by sending a check made out to BMD-CA Read below for contribution levels and where to mail your contribution.
Supporter - $5 _________ Activist - $10_________ Devotee ________ $25
Friend - $50 __________ Advocate - $100 _________ Associate - $250 __________
Patron* - $500 _________ Celebrity* - $1,000 _______ Other $__________
Contributions can be made at our website, www.browniemarydemocrats.org/donate or by sending a check made out to BMD-CA to: BMD-CA, PO Box 739, Palm Springs CA 92263.
Thanks for your time and consideration of my request.
Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
President & Founder, Brownie Mary Democrats of California
COPS ARE OFFENDED
THAT VOTERS THINK THEY
CAN TELL THEM WHAT TO DO
“It really is quite offensive,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., complaining about lawmakers “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”
Really? Cops find it offensive that our elected representatives want to direct how they work? I thought that is what our elected officials were supposed to do – tell law enforcement what to do. If our elected representatives are not supposed to “direct law enforcement” than who is?
Sheriff Youngblood seems to think that police should “direct” themselves which is the very definition of a police state. In fact, thanks to the War on Drugs, we do have a police state and any attempts to put a leash on it is meet with furious opposition by cops who bridle at the thought that lawmakers would even dare to think they could tell “law enforcement how they want us to work.”
What is it that has so drawn the ire of the cops? Its AB 1578, the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Jones Sawyer, three other Assembly member and two State Senators, that will “direct” cops not to cooperate with federal police in the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of any marijuana consumers, providers or cultivators operating legally under California law.
With their overwhelming vote in favor of Prop. 64, the voters of California have made it very clear that they do not agree with the Controlled Substances Act and don’t want their tax dollars used to enforce it. They expect elected officials and government agencies to carry out their “directive” and that includes cops.
The people of California have voted to legalize marijuana and end marijuana prohibition. It is the duty of cops paid by the taxpayers of California to do what the voters tell them to do and not what they want to do even if they really really really want to do it.
If Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn, is “offended” by the voters of California and their elected representatives “directing” them on what to enforce and what not to enforce then he should quit his job and go to work for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. And so should all the members of the California State Sheriff’s Association and every other cop that finds it “offensive” that voters and elected officials might want “to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”
Local police are chomping at the bit to join the federal police they expect to be coming to California to turn back the tide of marijuana legalization at the behest of the Trump administration whose law and order rhetoric to unleash law enforcement from any kind of civil restraint is payback to all the police organizations that supported his candidacy.
Maybe the cops know something we don’t. Some marijuana activists don’t think much will come from the Trump administration to overturn the legalization laws now in force in eight states and the District of Columbia.
"I don't think there's any more reason to be scared than to be hopeful at this point," said Mason Tvert, Denver-based communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The administration has not changed its marijuana policy, and there is reason to believe it may maintain the existing policy or adopt a similar one that respects states' laws regulating marijuana."
"Marijuana is one of the least of my concerns with the Trump administration," said Dale Gieringer, Executive Director of CaNORML. "That's the first time I've been able to say that, but I just don’t see where there's any percentage in them going after marijuana. The polls are on our side, and they can't enforce the law."
Others however, are not so sanguine.
"As far as the industry goes, even the threat of a crackdown by the Justice Department has a chilling effect," said Justin Strekal, NORML political director and lobbyist. "The Cole memo is just a piece of paper and there is nothing stopping Sessions from just throwing it away, as the Heritage Foundation has called for him to do.” “The worst case would be that the adult use states are rolled back to a situation where there is no way to have a legal distribution system, but local law enforcement is not going to be enforcing federal marijuana prohibition."
I sure hope that Strekal is right and that “local law enforcement is not going to be enforcing federal marijuana prohibition," but I would advise against holding your breath on that one. The California Sheriff’s Association and the California Chiefs of Police Association along with their sycophants at the California League of Cities are using the combined weight of three 800 pound gorillas to see that they can, at the very least, help federal cops enforce federal law.
AB 1578 causes cops to seethe with fury that they would not be able to suit up in their swat team tactical force uniforms, bring out all their drug war military weaponry and bust down the doors of legal businesses, farms and homes to break the back of the upstart marijuana legalization movement that threatens their $50 billion a year taxpayer funded War on Drugs pig trough.
If cops fear AB1578 that much, it tells us that this bill will be very effective if it becomes law. It is to our advantage to do everything we can to aid its passage and eventual signing by Gov. Brown.
AB 1578 will be the focus of all three MAPP meetings the first week of April. Our focus must be to educate voters about AB 1578 and to contact our local and state elected officials and let them know we expect them to uphold and protect the will of California voters when they passed Prop. 64. How we can effectively do that, how we can obtain the support of other organizations and more will make these meetings extremely important for everyone to attend.
Most importantly, we must not allow cops to think that they are not beholden to the voters and elected officials of California and that they better get over finding it “offensive” that the taxpayers who pay their salaries should be calling the shots.
If you are in the Inland Empire, here are the dates and locations of all three MAPP meetings. If you are not in the Inland Empire, then get your local marijuana organizations to join together with other marijuana and drug law reform organizations to make sure AB 1578 becomes law.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Saturday, April 1 at 12 noon at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Saturday, April 1 at 3 p.m. at the - Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252
Riverside/San Bernardino/Western IE meeting - Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Implementing and defending Prop. 64 from cops, politicians and Donald Trump -
Why the DPA is Sticking Around This Time
Hear it now CLICK HERE
There is so much to do to protect our rights to access marijuana and we could use a little help from our friends.
Become a friend and hang out at our 420 Club
CLICK HERE TO JOIN
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A ONE-TIME DONATION
Marijuana Works Where
the 18th Amendment Failed
Beer Sales Drop as
MJ Sales Go Up
Health Advocates Predicted This - Here's Why
Using marijuana to mitigate the side-effects of withdrawal from alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines and other drugs is part of humanity’s historical usage of folk medicines, but the first printed recognition of marijuana’s use to treat alcoholism and drug addiction was published over a century ago in 1902 by Thomas Davison Crothers in his treatise Morphinism and Narcomanias.
Commenting on the book, famed medical cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo noted, that Narcomania “described all of the addictive substances, from cocaine to caffeine, morphine to nicotine. The only context in which cannabis was mentioned was as a treatment for addiction to other drugs."
In 2003 medical marijuana pioneer Dr. Todd Mikiyuria published a study in the medical marijuana journal O'Shaughnessy's documenting ninety-two Northern Californians who obtained a medical marijuana recommendation principally to use cannabis to treat their alcoholism. Dr. Mikiyuria reported that “All patients reported benefit, indicating that for at least a subset of alcoholics, cannabis use is associated with reduced drinking.”
Since 1995 when I first became actively involved in proselytizing for medical marijuana and ending marijuana prohibition, I was astounded by the number of people I met who had used marijuana to cure their alcoholism. In almost every case, marijuana wasn’t something they used to get off alcohol and then stopped using, but continued to use marijuana for what were essentially the same reasons they used alcohol but without any of alcohol’s deleterious side effects while at the same time being able to lead a normal, productive and healthy life.
I approached more than a dozen drug and alcohol counselors with the novel idea that they should be encouraging their clients to use marijuana as a substitute for alcohol and to continue its use after their addiction had been overcome. Most times I was politely told that my idea was impractical, illegal and would be just substituting one debilitating drug for another. Sometimes I was told that in terms that were not quite so polite.
I have always maintained and have been publicly speaking and writing for years that as a nurse I always considered the most important medical use of cannabis was as an alcohol substitute. Yes it is most excellent for insomnia, cancer, depression, pain and on and on and on, but when I was working as a RN, I don't think I ever had a single shift where at least one of the patients I was taking care of was in that hospital bed, if not totally at least partially, due to their use of alcohol.
I became a vocal advocate for the use of marijuana not just to treat addictions, but as a substitute for alcohol in all its traditional socially acceptable forms whether that be at a wedding or other celebration, communally enjoying with friends and family or as a safe and effective means of altering one’s consciousness.
I was certainly not the only voice in the woods espousing this idea, but even in marijuana and drug law reform groups, this idea was rejected and not promulgated preferring to publicly espouse the relatively benign nature of marijuana rather than what many of us considered the real reason the recreational adult-use of marijuana needed to be legalized.
The meme that if marijuana was easily and widely available that alcohol sales would decrease has been floating around for some time, but little research had been done to confirm it. The earliest research that I am aware of occurred with the publication of Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities and Alcohol Consumption in November 2011 by Mark Anderson and Daniel Reese.
Studying the effects of medical marijuana legalization in Montana, the authors found that among 18- through 25-year-olds marijuana used had increased by an average mean of 19% from the pre-legalization average mean. The authors then found that “The legalization of medical marijuana is associated with a 5.3 percent reduction in beer sales, the most popular beverage among 18-through 29-year-olds during the period under study.”
That this reduction in alcohol use and increase in marijuana use was of significant benefit was their finding “that traffic fatalities fall by nearly 9 percent after the legalization of medical marijuana.” Based on multiple factors, the authors concluded that “The negative relationship between legalization of medical marijuana and traffic fatalities involving alcohol is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.”
That marijuana is a substitute for alcohol is borne out by new studies released last December by Cowen and Company. Founded in 1918, this respected financial advisory and asset management firm provides research for a broad swath of industries from chemicals to technology and has conducted and released research reports for the alcoholic beverage and tobacco industries.
Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Vivien Azer reported that in the past two years, beer markets in three states that have legalized the adult-use of marijuana, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, have “collectively underperformed,” and “the magnitude of the underperformance has increased notably.” She reported that the beer sales in these states have fallen by more than two percent in 2016 when compared to the rest of the country.
Explaining why and how this decrease came about, Azer said “While [marijuana] retail sales opened up in these markets at different points of time, with all three of these states now having fully implemented a retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016.”
Azer went on to elucidate, “This is perhaps not surprising, given that U.S. government data for the states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington all show consistent growth in cannabis incidence among 18-25 year olds coupled with declines in alcohol incidence (in terms of past month use).”
These declines were evident in reports showing sales of premium brews like Coors Light and Bud Light dropping by 4.4%, while standard versions of beers like Budweiser and Coors dipped by 2.4%. Denver, arguably one of the most marijuana friendly cities’ in the nation with its decision in 2016 to allow venues with on-site marijuana consumption, has experienced a 6.4% decline in total beer consumption.
Surprised? Well beer company executives weren’t as they have known for a long time that marijuana availability is not good for their bottom line. It wasn’t because of their concern of increased traffic fatalities or an increase in teen use, they knew that was nonsense. It was their fear of plummeting sales that triggered the California Beer and Beverage Distributors in 2010 to become one of the biggest contributors to the anti-Prop. 19 campaign.
The same held true in 2016 with alcohol producers and distributors providing funds to most of the opposition campaigns in the four states with marijuana legalization initiatives up for a vote. Although legalized marijuana is a threat to big pharma, it is even more of a threat to big beer.
Tobacco company executives were well aware of the dangers of tobacco use, but suppressed the information and lied to the American public about the dangers of tobacco smoke. Equally culpable are the beer distributors and manufacturers as they too are well aware of the dangers to health of the consumers of their product and the dangers to the community from the actions of the consumers of their products.
Those dangers have never been a concern to them which explains their continued opposition, both with their actions and money, to the legalization of marijuana that will reduce the horrors caused by alcohol consumption while providing for the safe, reliable, local and affordable distribution of marijuana across a vast consortium of businesses both big and small.
Tobacco company executives made billions selling their lethal product and were never jailed for lying to the America people about the dangers of tobacco thereby facilitating the death of over 400,000 Americans every year for the last half-century. The Wall Street and big banking tycoons made billions at the expense of tens of millions of Americans robbing them of their homes, pensions and life savings and, other than some slap on the wrist fines, not one of them went to jail.
It’s long past the time that we stop letting corporate crooks and criminals get away with robbing and killing us. The moguls of the alcohol industries who have made billions destroying our health, breaking up our families and terrorizing our communities, while killing off 80,000 people a year, would be a good place to start.
Implementing and defending Prop. 64 from cops, politicians and Donald Trump
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THE FEDS ARE COMING!
THE FEDS ARE COMING!
Can they be stopped?
That's the $64,000 question
Jeff Sessions may be hiding out after lying to congress about meeting with Russians during the Presidential campaign, but he is not lying low when it comes to marijuana. He is taking the DOJ MJ prohibition axe out of mothballs and is determined to bring it down on the head of marijuana consumers and providers.
On March 9 on an interview on conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, he made it very clear that he intends to use all the resources at his disposal to take down the states that have legalized the use of marijuana.
HH: Let’s talk about the rule of law. I have a piece coming out in the Washington Post about this on Sunday, Attorney General Sessions. One RICO prosecution against one marijuana retailer in one state that has so-called legalization ends this façade and this flaunting of the Supremacy Clause. Will you be bringing such a case?
JS: We will, marijuana is against federal law, and that applies in states where they may have repealed their own anti-marijuana laws. So yes, we will enforce law in an appropriate way nationwide. It’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it. And I’m not in favor of legalization of marijuana. I think it’s a more dangerous drug than a lot of people realize. I don’t think we’re going to be a better community if marijuana is sold in every corner grocery store.
HH: No, but it would literally take one racketeering influence corrupt organization (RICO) prosecution to take all the money from one retailer, and the message would be sent. I mean, if you want to send that message, you can send it. Do you think you’re going to send it?
JS: Well, we’ll be evaluating how we want to handle that. I think it’s a little more complicated than one RICO case, I’ve got to tell you. This, places like Colorado, it’s just sprung up a lot of different independent entities that are moving marijuana. And it’s also being moved interstate, not just in the home state.
JS: And neighbors are complaining, and filed lawsuits against them. So it’s a serious matter, in my opinion.
Sessions then went on to conflate the problems of opioid addiction with marijuana.
JS: And I just came from a big rally in New Hampshire yesterday, Hugh. This is, this opioid problem is just huge. There were 9,000 high school and junior high school students there. A mother I met who had lost a son three months before, a child, and she said there were 50 more mothers there who’d lost children speaking to those kids. We’ve had this huge opioid surge in America, 120 people a day die from drug overdose. And I do believe, and the President has issued an order to the Department of Justice to crack down on drugs and these international cartels that are moving this Fentanyl that’s so deadly into our country. And we’re going to step up that in a very vigorous way as I talk to United States Attorneys yesterday by conference call.
Of course he ignores and Hugh Hewitt didn’t embarrass him with the fact that states in which marijuana is legal have a 25% lower opioid mortality overdose rate than states which don’t have legal marijuana because so many patients are using marijuana instead of opioids to treat their pain.
Although his willful ignorance and/or disregard of science is troubling, what is especially distressing is the threat to use RICO laws to go after states that have allowed the use of marijuana. Passed in 1970, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law designed to combat organized crime in the United States. It allows prosecution and civil penalties for racketeering activity performed as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.
RICO has succeeded in blurring the lines between state and federal law enforcement and in overturning the protections of the due process clauses found in the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution. Due process deals with the administration of justice and thus the due process clause acts as a safeguard from arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by the Government.
The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act “RICO” was part of President Richard Nixon’s 1970 omnibus crime bill and was designed to combat the Mafia. While that is how the law was supposed to work, federal prosecutors have used it to create criminal and civil penalties for members of any organization that engage in so-called patterns of criminal activity.
To successfully prosecute for RICO it must be shown that members of a criminal enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering that had an effect on interstate commerce. Here is a simple explanation of what this means:
- Criminal Enterprise – Any organization that works together over time and has an organizational structure with one or more persons making decisions for the organization. The enterprise can have either an illegal or a legal purpose.
- Pattern of Racketeering – The members of the organization must have engaged in ongoing illegal activity.
- Effect on Interstate Commerce – This merely refers to anything that has any effect on commerce when that effect is not entirely limited to one state. Any economic activity of any substance normally meets the criteria.
Due to marijuana being an illegal schedule one drug, a marijuana dispensary, whether medical or adult-use, would definitely qualify for prosecution under the RICO laws which make obtaining a conviction relatively easy for federal prosecutors.
California and the seven other states that legalized marijuana better prepare for a federal assault with Sessions using every means at his disposal including RICO laws to slay the evil dragon of marijuana legalization.
Mark Kleiman, professor of Public Policy at New York University and Washington State’s top marijuana consultant after voters legalized marijuana in 2012, concurs stating that the Trump administration “could shut down the legal cannabis industry everywhere in the country with the stroke of a pen.”
Kevin Sabet, professional drug warrior and president of the anti-mj legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, agrees with Prof. Kleiman stating “Let’s just say that if I had marijuana stocks right now, I’d be shorting them. This is a man (Sessions) who we know is staunchly anti-legalization. There’s no way around that. Things are about to get interesting.”
Those anti-64 folk who might be celebrating a crackdown on adult-use marijuana should note that in the Hugh Hewitt interview, Sessions made no distinction between adult-use marijuana and medical marijuana. For the moment Prop. 64 is the wall between the feds and medical marijuana, but it would be no surprise if after successfully gutting adult-use marijuana laws that Sessions sets his sights on medical marijuana as payback to his pals at the giant pharmaceutical companies which funneled over $4.4 million to Republicans in 2016.
As Sessions noted in the Hugh Hewitt interview, “it’s not possible for the federal government, of course, to take over everything the local police used to do in a state that’s legalized it.” Federal law enforcement has always counted heavily on local police in any of their raids on patients and dispensaries.
Exactly how to respond to those threats is vexing. California's new attorney general Xavier Becerra told the LA Times he agreed with voters who passed Prop. 64 and that “It was wise for us to regulate versus criminalize marijuana, but we do face some challenges.” However he did not elaborate on what those challenges were or offer any clues on how his office would meet those challenges.
That is why AB 1578, sponsored by Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) is so important. At the moment it is really the only show in town as it will prevent police on the state and local level from assisting the DEA and other federal police agencies from providing any kind of support when raids are conducted against marijuana cultivators and providers.
In a conversation I had with a legislative aide to Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer, I was informed that the League of California Cities and the California Chiefs of Police Association have already expressed displeasure with AB 1578 and organizing and lobbying to derail it.
This is serious opposition as these are the same two organizations that successfully led the attack on Prop. 215 that essentially gutted its provisions that required the state to “implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana.”
As might be expected, the marijuana community is wringing their hands over the issue, but there is really no coordinated work being done to confront the oncoming onslaught. It seems most ganja entrepreneurs are too busy counting all the money they are making off of patients to part with any significant amount to any organization that has the ability to actually do something to thwart the oncoming federal assault.
Since 7 of the 8 states that have legalized marijuana went for Hilary Clinton (California delivered the overwhelming number of votes that gave Clinton the popular vote irritating the notoriously thin-skinned Trump), it is doubtful that these states will have any influence on the federal level.
Make no misstake – what the feds are about to do is not an economic issue, it is not a social issue – it is a political issue. It is getting our elected state legislators to support AB 1578 right now.
With the opposition of the League of California Cities and the California Chiefs of Police Association, getting AB 1578 approved is going to be an uphill battle, but it is battle that can be won with the support of marijuana consumers, cultivators and providers.
With Democrats holding a super-majority in the California legislature, the ability to contact these legislators for support is facilitated through the Brownie Mary Democrats of California. As one of only six officially chartered organizations by the California Democratic Party, it is in a unique position to contact and connect with Democratic legislators throughout the state. I have been working with Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer’s office to implement a strategy to get AB 1578 approved.
“All politics is local” is a common phrase in U.S. politics and when it comes to developing support with our state legislators that is where our actions must start – on the local level. If we succeed on the local level, we will succeed on the state level and if we succeed on the state level, there is fighting chance that we will stop Sessions in his crusade against marijuana.
In my next newsletter I will lay out the plans on how we can accomplish this on the local level, but understand we can only succeed if and when marijuana consumers, cultivators and distributors unite and get involved in their local communities. If you sit on the sidelines and do not get involved with your time and financial support, then the prophetic words of Professor Kleinman that the Trump administration “could shut down the legal cannabis industry everywhere in the country with the stroke of a pen” will surely come true.
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Hold on to your seats – we are in for one hell-of-a roller coaster ride. From court challenges to the defacto bans on the local level to enacting the rules and regulations that will make the sale of marijuana legal on the state level to legislation to make California a ganja sanctuary state, the action is hot, challenging, exciting and simply amazing.
Whoever would have ever thought just a few years ago, that marijuana law reform would become part of the national controversies that are sweeping the nation? Well it is happening and we are so fortunate to live at a time where you and I can be part of it.
Together we are a critical and integral part of for once and for ever making marijuana accessible locally, reliably, safely and affordably just like it was when our grandparents and great-grandparents could saunter on down to the corner pharmacy and buy all the cannabis they wanted OVER-THE-COUNTER.
There are forces out there that wield considerable power and agree with Harry Anslinger that the “primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races,” so if you want the day to come when you can just saunter on down to the store again and buy good quality cannabis at reasonable prices, now is the time to get involved again or if you have never been at the frontlines – time to step up.
Whether you chose to or even have the time to participate in any of the actions listed below, it is truly amazing to read about all that is happening. These are truly remarkable, albeit somewhat unsettling times. OK - here's some ACTIONS you can undertake – some while you are sitting on your couch smoking or not smoking pot and others that you are going to have to get off the couch, out of the house and meet, carouse and work with good people just like yourself.
ACTION 1 – if you are in the area, come to the MAPP meetings in Moreno Valley, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree this week and join with other concerned citizens to learn what is happening and how, when and where to take action. For information for topics to be covered and guest speakers CLICK HERE.
ACTION 2 – Write your legislator asking him or her to support AB 1578 and make California a GANJA SANCTUARY STATE. It’s easy to do, just CLICK HERE.
ACTION 3 – There are a litany of Congressional Caucuses, from the Congressional Coal Caucus to the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues to the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus. Just formed last week is a Congressional Cannabis Caucus – YES THERE ACTUALLY IS SUCH A CREATURE and it’s more than just a bunch of legislators in the backroom smoking joints instead of cigars. To learn more about the CCC and to get your congressional representative to join the two esteemed Democrats and two esteemed Republicans that formed it CLICK HERE.
ACTION 4 – Use to be our legislators wouldn’t even talk about marijuana – now they won’t shut up about it. An astounding 44 bills have been introduced into the California state legislature regulating everything from taxes to advertising to distribution. Mark Twain wrote “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session” – so to find out how your life, liberty and cannabis will be affected by your elected state legislators, CLICK HERE.
ACTION 5 – HJR 42 was passed two weeks ago rescinding President Obama’s executive order banning the drug testing of most unemployment insurance applicants. This pee-in-a-cup restoration legislation was almost a totally party line vote. To learn more about it, to see who wants to provide tens of millions of tax dollars to pee-testing companies and how you can send a message with a Colbert tip-of-the-hat for those who opposed repealing the ban and a-wag-of-the-finger to those who supported its repeal CLICK HERE.
ACTION 6 – Help MAPP continue to educate and activate on all of the above and more by joining our 420 Club and generously donating $4.20/month (14¢/day). To become an exceptional member of this elite club CLICK HERE. If you are not quite prepared to join, you can make a one-time only donation if you CLICK HERE.
ACTION 7- Do as many of actions 1 – 6 as you can.
Like the click click click sound of a roller coaster going up the first steep incline of one of Magic Mountain’s death defying rides, the sound of your mouse clicking on the ACTION links above will take you on the ride of your life as you plunge through the twists and turns and loops of what could be one of the most thrilling and significant journeys of your life.
From the desk of Lanny Swerdlow, RN LNC
Will California Become A Ganja Sanctuary State?
Dems & Repubs Split on MJ/Drug Law Reform
Trump Renews War on Drugs
Will the Trump administration go after recreational marijuana but not medical marijuana? That possibility seems possible after President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, stated in a press conference that President Trump sees “a big difference” between the use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes. Equating the dangers of marijuana to opioids, he concluded by stating that this “is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.”
Whether the Trump administration will look favorably on medical marijuana by allowing states to go their own way with the legalization of medical marijuana or have cannabis moved to Schedule 2 on the Controlled Substances Act chart which would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana and pharmaceutical companies to produce and distribute it to pharmacies remains to be seen, but this contentious issue is becoming even more polarizing then god, gays and guns.
A vote was taken in the U.S. Congress on February 15 to repeal the Obama administration’s ban on drug testing of most unemployment insurance applicants. If there ever was a partisan vote on an issue this had got to be the granddaddy of them all with 232 Republicans voting to repeal the ban and only one Republican voting to retain it and 188 Democrats voting to maintain the ban and only 4 Democrats voting to repeal it.
Drug testing has always been about testing for marijuana. An unemployment applicant knowing that he or she will be drug screened can refrain from using meth or crack or heroin for a couple days and pass as these drugs are out of the body after two to three days. Not so for marijuana users as marijuana can remain in the body for up to a month or more.
The vote on reversing the drug testing ban is not the first time that a vote on a marijuana/drug law reform issue has been so lopsided with Republicans opposing reform and Democrats supporting reform. It most certainly will not be the last.
With the expected upcoming vote in April on whether to renew the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment preventing the Dept. of Justice from spending money to enforce federal marijuana prohibition law in states that have state regulated medical marijuana distribution systems, this vote to repeal the ban on drug testing may be a harbinger that the small number of Republicans that voted with the overwhelming number of Democrats in support of the DOJ defunding amendment, may now vote in opposition.
The failure of the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment would free U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to undertake a massive federal pogrom against states which have enacted medical and adult-use marijuana initiatives and legislation.
As I have written earlier reclassifying marijuana to a schedule 2 drug would allow Trump to say he is supportive of medical marijuana and allow police to continue to receive billions to arrest, prosecute and imprison marijuana users as the penalties for the illegal use and manufacture of schedule 2 drugs are as harsh as schedule 1 drugs. Right now in many states the penalties for marijuana use have been reduced to infractions, but as a schedule 2 drug the penalties for marijuana use without a doctor’s written prescription that is filled at a licensed pharmacy could very easily be re-legislated to be on a par with the illegal use of other schedule 2 drugs.
And don’t think for one minute that Trump is not cognizant that police will be pushing legislators to do that – its putting the money that marijuana legalization took out of their pockets back in.
To bolster my concern that Trump will not let states go their own way with marijuana, but rather take a harsher and more regressive position is his oft-repeated “law and order” campaign statements and apparent decision to double-down on the War on Drugs. At a recent address he made to the law enforcement professionals of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, he stated "We're going to stop the drugs from pouring in . . . We're going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. We're going to be ruthless in that fight.”
Trump went on to castigate the Obama administration for releasing "record numbers of drug traffickers, many of them kingpins." Far from being drug kingpins, most of the 1,700 drug war prisoners whose sentences were commuted by President Obama had already served sentences longer than they would have under current, revised sentencing guidelines.
To back up his rhetoric of being “ruthless” to the Chiefs Association, at the Oval Office swearing in of Attorney General Jeff Session, Trump issued three executive orders he said were "designed to restore safety in America," but really signal an escalation of the War on Drugs with increased funding for police and law enforcement agencies across the country.
What we cannot do is sit on our butts and smoke pot and wait to see what the Trump administration is going to do whether it concerns medical or adult-use marijuana. At the last meeting of MAPP in Moreno Valley, Cat Packer, California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), alerted us to a bill that was going to be introduced in the legislature that would direct law enforcement and government agencies at both the local and state level to refuse to cooperate with federal agencies in the enforcement of federal marijuana prohibition laws.
Cat knew of what she spoke as AB 1578 was submitted last week to the state assembly. Authored by Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) and co-authored by three other state assembly members and two state senators, the bill would “prohibit a state or local agency from taking certain actions without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”
To read the full text of AB 1578 CLICK HERE.
Federal police agencies, especially narcotic agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), almost always rely heavily on local law enforcement to provide the bulk of the enforcement personnel used in their raids. Usually there are two to four DEA agents accompanied by a phalanx of a dozen or more local police when making a bust.
If local police are not allowed to assist them, the ability of the DEA to make arrests will be significantly impacted as even Sessions noted in his confirmation hearings that enforcement of federal marijuana prohibition law “is a problem of resources for the federal government.”
Of course we don’t know for sure what the Trump Administration is planning, but as I wrote in a previous email “we should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” At all three MAPP meetings in March we will be doing just that with discussions of AB 1578 and how we as patients and consumers of marijuana can take actions to insure the continuation of using medical and adult-use of marijuana free of federal interference.
At the meeting there will be an analysis of AB 1578 and discussion of what its provisions portend. This will not just be armchair posturing, but we will also be providing information on actions that can be taken individually and as a group. You are not powerless, but information and education is key to developing the power within you.
At the Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting, we will also have a presentation by long-time advocate Michael Harris who has become the lead plaintiff in DPA’s lawsuit against the defacto bans cities and counties have enacted to undercut the indoor cultivation of marijuana permitted by Prop. 64. This lawsuit is going to be critical in establishing the rights of people to grow indoors with regulations that are reasonable and not so onerous as to make it all but impossible for most people to grow their own.
Like the lawsuit where the city of Riverside sued the Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Center for violating its zoning ordinances by distributing marijuana to its members, this lawsuit on defacto bans will be precedent setting as it most assuredly will eventually be decided by the California Supreme Court. Let’s hope that outcome is favorable to us this time.
Keep smoking, vaporizing and/or eating marijuana, but get off that couch and attend one of the MAPP meetings near you. What happens over the next six months will affect your access to marijuana for years to come.
Mark your calendar to attend any of these MAPP meetings.
Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Wed. March 1 at 7:30 p.m. - Greenview Medical Clinic, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553.
Palm Springs/Coachella Valley MAPP meeting – Saturday, March 4 at 12 noon at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Saturday, March 4 at 3 p.m. at the Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
See you there.