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1 US NY: LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Brassard, Raymond J. Area:New York Lines:53 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

Re "Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No," by Paul Butler (Op-Ed, Dec. 21):

The concept of jury nullification is more complex than Mr. Butler suggests. Because juries deliberate in secret and do not provide reasons for their decisions, there is no doubt that jurors have the power not to follow the governing law. The critical question is whether jurors have the right to do so.

For more than a century, the courts have ruled that juries have no right to decide what the law is, but rather have a duty to apply the law to the facts based on the trial evidence.

[continues 169 words]

2 US NY: LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Chandler, Adam D. Area:New York Lines:31 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

Jury nullification might sound appealing when it's used in a defendant's favor to set aside petty laws. But jury nullification doesn't just let off otherwise guilty people; it also convicts the innocent. Would anyone congratulate a jury for ignoring the law because of its animus toward the defendant rather than its sympathy?

Democratically accountable bodies write our criminal laws. Twelve unelected and anonymous people should not be able to flout them behind closed doors.

Burlington, N.C., Dec. 21, 2011

The writer is a recent graduate of Yale Law School.


3 US NY: PUB LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Rao, Kumar Area:New York Lines:41 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

What is hidden behind the heated philosophical debate that jury nullification generates are the real people and communities affected by prosecutorial and police policies. Paul Butler properly notes the disgraceful number of marijuana possession prosecutions in New York City. But what we need to be equally aware of is that drug prosecutions in this city almost invariably target people suffering from endemic joblessness, homelessness as well as mental health and substance abuse problems aggravated by collapsing and underfinanced social services.

[continues 139 words]

4 US NY: City Council's Pot Bill Calls On State To 'Legalize It'Thu, 22 Dec 2011
Source:Villager, The (New York, NY) Author:DeRienzo, Paul Area:New York Lines:133 Added:12/24/2011

A joint oversight committee of the City Council held a contentious hearing last month over an attempt by the Council to support passage of a state law legalizing medical marijuana. The Council's resolution asks the state Legislature to pass the bill - which is sponsored by Tom Duane in the state Senate and Richard Gottfried in the Assembly - but which has languished for years in the warrens of Albany. Similar to a law recently passed in New Jersey, the legislation would closely regulate use and distribution of marijuana.

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5 US NY: Lowering The Price Of Hard Drugs Will Reduce CrimeThu, 22 Dec 2011
Source:Daily Mail (UK)          Area:New York Lines:58 Added:12/24/2011

The price of hard drugs found on the street may be able to forecast the level of violent crime like larceny, assault and homicide in New York City, according to a new study.

A study at the John Jay College, 'More Drugs, Less Crime,' in Manhattan, states that the price of hard drugs for a particular year can help determine the level of crime expected based on a user's ease in acquiring.

'Essentially our paper could be boiled down to this: Most crime is committed by drug users to finance the cost of drug use,' Travis Wendel, the main author of the study explained according to the New York World.

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6 US NY: OPED: Jurors Need To Know That They Can Say NoWed, 21 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Butler, Paul Area:New York Lines:109 Added:12/21/2011

IF you are ever on a jury in a marijuana case, I recommend that you vote "not guilty" - even if you think the defendant actually smoked pot, or sold it to another consenting adult. As a juror, you have this power under the Bill of Rights; if you exercise it, you become part of a proud tradition of American jurors who helped make our laws fairer.

The information I have just provided - about a constitutional doctrine called "jury nullification" - is absolutely true. But if federal prosecutors in New York get their way, telling the truth to potential jurors could result in a six-month prison sentence.

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7 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Anton, Greg Area:New York Lines:41 Added:12/19/2011

Contrary to the conclusions stated as fact by Mr. Evans:

Marijuana is not addictive.

Studies by the Department of Transportation show that marijuana use does not cause more automobile accidents.

Many people in treatment programs for marijuana are there because courts send them there as an alternative to incarceration; most judges know that people shouldn't be jailed for smoking pot.

The vast majority of state medical marijuana laws were promulgated by legislatures, analyzed and affirmed by courts, and based on the advice of medical organizations representing the opinions of tens of thousands of physicians.

[continues 68 words]

8 US NY: LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Sabet, Kevin A. Area:New York Lines:44 Added:12/19/2011

Scientists have long known that like many plants, marijuana has some medicinal properties. But that does not imply that to derive those medical benefits, the plant should be smoked in its raw form (we don't, after all, smoke opium to get the benefits of morphine). Nor does the potential medical value of marijuana mean that, as medicine, its fate should be left to the whims of the electorate.

Unfortunately, rather than advocating better or quicker research protocols so that pharmacists can properly dispense marijuana-based medications with consistent dosing and in a safe delivery manner, many states have bypassed the approval process of modern medicine. The result has been widespread abuses.

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9 US NY: LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Evans, David Area:New York Lines:55 Added:12/19/2011

The Writer Responds

The responses focus on denying the dangers of marijuana use (that it is addictive and causes car crashes), personal anecdotes about marijuana as "medicine," and justifications for bypassing the approval process of the Food and Drug Administration.

I point Mr. Anton to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showing that marijuana users have the highest rate of dependence of all those classified with illicit drug dependence. Higher potency marijuana is a major factor in the increasing number of Americans being treated for dependence.

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10 US NY: LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Voth, Eric A. Area:New York Lines:43 Added:12/19/2011

I congratulate Mr. Evans for his incisive and insightful discussion of the medical marijuana issue.

Our procedures for assuring safety and efficacy through Food and Drug Administration approval have been hijacked by marijuana advocates. They are driving a process of medicine by popular vote - a terrible precedent for consumer protection.

If marijuana were named Substance X to disconnect it from all the emotions, its use would be associated with exposure to numerous impurities, significant addiction, psychotic episodes and dose instability. The medical community and the public would reject it out of hand. Lobbying by the marijuana culture has resulted in misguided and misinformed public acceptance.

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11 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Sikov, Ed Area:New York Lines:34 Added:12/19/2011

Mr. Evans, who is not a doctor and doesn't specialize in any of the illnesses he cites, overextends his expertise when he advises me and other readers that medical marijuana does not help me and others like me.

I have Parkinson's disease, and I have used marijuana on occasion to relieve the uncomfortable stiffness that I suffer from time to time. It works.

Mr. Evans insists that "numerous safe and effective F.D.A.-approved medications are available for these conditions." He's right; I'm on several of them. But these drugs have unpleasant and, in one case, potentially debilitating side effects when used on a long-term basis. How easy it is for an anti-marijuana crusader to dismiss its medical benefits; how wrong he is to advocate denying me something that eases my suffering.

New York, Dec. 14, 2011


12 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Saslow, Richard Area:New York Lines:31 Added:12/19/2011

Several years ago, I contracted a case of food poisoning. The frequent vomiting and diarrhea were unpleasant, but the feeling of nausea was the worst effect of all.

In response, I smoked a few puffs of high-quality marijuana. The effects of the nausea disappeared after about 30 seconds.

Here's a few assertions of my own: Marijuana is the fastest-acting and most effective anti-nausea agent available. Marijuana is no more addictive than milk, and the consumption of small quantities is no more toxic than milk.

Novato, Calif., Dec. 14, 2011


13 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Armentano, Paul Area:New York Lines:46 Added:12/19/2011

Mr. Evans's call for the Food and Drug Administration to determine the safety and efficacy of cannabis may sound appealing, but it is politically unfeasible. That is because the cannabis plant is classified under federal law as a Schedule 1 prohibited substance - the most restrictive classification possible.

Since the present law forbids any private manufacturers of cannabis-based products to exist, there remains no entity available to conduct the sort of research and development necessary to trigger an F.D.A. review.

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14 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Watterworth, Jay Area:New York Lines:32 Added:12/19/2011

I am sure that others will point out the many fallacies in Mr. Evans's letter as these have been the traditional myths used by medical marijuana opponents for years. When myths like these are circulated, it discredits the sincere effort many of us have been making to deal with the problem of substance abuse.

Offering false arguments regarding marijuana tends to undermine all of us who are trying to reach out to young people. When I present them with real science, my words are dismissed as well. If we truly want to prevent substance abuse, honesty is the best policy.

Boulder, Colo., Dec. 14, 2011

The writer is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


15 US NY: PUB LTE: When Marijuana Is Used As MedicineSun, 18 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Thompson, Elizabeth Area:New York Lines:44 Added:12/19/2011

The addictive properties of marijuana are no reason to denounce its use as an effective and safe medicine. Many of the "safe and effective FDA-approved" drugs are opioids, which studies have shown to be nearly twice as addictive as marijuana and carry additional risks such as extreme nausea, physical dependence and death from overdose.

Furthermore, any claim that marijuana has no medicinal benefits is disingenuous. A recent federal petition by the governors of Washington State and Rhode Island to reclassify marijuana for medical use cited more than 700 peer-reviewed independent studies documenting the medical value of cannabis.

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16 US NY: PUB LTE: Legalizing Pot Helps With ControlSat, 17 Dec 2011
Source:Times Union (Albany, NY) Author:D., Mitch Earleywine PH. Area:New York Lines:38 Added:12/19/2011

Research by the group Monitoring The Future, described in recent news reports, shows that teen marijuana use continues to rise while teen alcohol use hits historic lows.

A taxed-and-regulated market like alcohol's ensures that anyone selling the substance has considerable incentive to keep it out of the hands of teens. Those who sell to underage citizens lose their license and their profits.

The underground market provides no such protections, essentially letting sales of marijuana to teens stay as profitable as sale to anyone else.

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17 US NY: Following Drug-Related Arrest, Highway Superintendent'sFri, 16 Dec 2011
Source:Saratogian, The (NY) Author:Donohue, Emily Area:New York Lines:63 Added:12/17/2011

MILTON - Supervisor Frank Thompson said he'll confer with Town Board members this weekend to decide whether to seek Highway Superintendent [name redacted]resignation.

[name redacted], 43, of Lee Street in Ballston Spa, was one of 12 people charged Thursday with drug trafficking following a five-month investigation by Saratoga Springs Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"We can ask for his resignation, but he doesn't have to do it," Thompson said. "I've been talking to them (board members). I haven't gotten a good consensus yet."

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18 US NY: LTE: Invitation to a Dialogue: Medical MarijuanaWed, 14 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Evans, David Area:New York Lines:58 Added:12/14/2011

To the Editor:

The Obama administration's recent crackdown on growers and sellers of medical marijuana is totally justified. The federal government is trying to protect vulnerable people from the use of marijuana as medicine, since the drug is not proved safe or effective.

All medications, particularly those containing controlled substances, should be required to meet the rigorous criteria of the Food and Drug Administration approval process. That process has been carefully constructed over the last century to protect patient health and safety.

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19 US NY: PUB LTE: Gingrich's Views Need ExaminationFri, 09 Dec 2011
Source:Times Union (Albany, NY) Author:Aiken, William Area:New York Lines:54 Added:12/13/2011

To the editor

Newt Gingrich is now the leading contender for the Republican nomination. Although his lead has put him under the spotlight, his recent comments on drug policy have received little attention. For example, Gingrich has spoken favorably of Singapore's approach, which imposes corporal punishment and death for drug offenses.

"They have been very draconian," Gingrich says. "And they have communicated with great intention that they intend to stop drugs from coming into their country."

We view ourselves as a free country. The mainstream media must ask how Gingrich would apply such contradicting values on Americans.

[continues 152 words]

20 US NY: Edu: Column: Second Amendment Up In SmokeSun, 11 Dec 2011
Source:Pipe Dream (NY Edu) Author:Kalin, Justin Area:New York Lines:89 Added:12/12/2011

On Sept. 21, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) responded to confusion in the federal firearms licensing community about whether medical marijuana patients can apply for gun ownership.

Its letter refers to the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. An unlawful user or addict to controlled substances is prohibited from purchasing firearms or ammunition. Furthermore, presenting a medical marijuana card is "reasonable cause to believe" that the transferee is an unlawful user or addict.

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