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1US CA: Feds Unveil Charges Against Some Medical MarijuanaSat, 08 Oct 2011
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Hecht, Peter Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:10/10/2011

Declaring that California's medical marijuana law "has been hijacked by profiteers," U.S. prosecutors announced charges Friday against dispensaries, growers and financial speculators throughout the state's medicinal pot market.

California's four U.S. attorneys also said they have seized properties of landlords facilitating the marijuana trade. And they delivered a rhetorical indictment of medical marijuana's evolution into cannabis commerce.

"The California Compassionate Use Act was intended to help seriously ill people," said San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, referring to the 1996 initiative that made California the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use. "But the law has been hijacked by profiteers who are motivated not by compassion but by money."

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2US: Medical Marijuana Lobbying Debuts in D.C.Thu, 31 Mar 2011
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Harbarger, Molly Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:03/31/2011

The $1.7 billion medical marijuana industry made its lobbying debut in Washington on Wednesday with its official trade association launching an effort for changes in federal tax law that would put medicinal purveyors on equal footing with fully legitimate businesses.

From an underground movement to a legal business in California, 14 other states and Washington, D.C., medical marijuana is emerging as a full-fledged commercial sector with sales that might soon rival those of Viagra, advocates said.

"We simply feel that our industry should be treated like any other legitimate industry," said Aaron Smith, director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He spoke at a news conference kicking off the association's first day of lobbying, which included meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

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3US AZ: Medical Marijuana Backers Air Views At Tempe Council SessionMon, 17 Jan 2011
Source:Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) Author:Nanez, Dianna M. Area:Arizona Lines:Excerpt Added:01/17/2011

A crowd of medical marijuana supporters attended a Tempe City Council meeting to demand that council members respect the "will of the voters" who passed Proposition 203 in November.

The law makes it legal in Arizona to sell and grow marijuana for medical use and for people with a doctor's prescription to use the drug. Thursday was the first public hearing to review an ordinance regulating where, when and how medical marijuana dispensaries operate in Tempe.

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance at its next meeting scheduled for Jan. 27.

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4US CO: Cannabis Conference A Major Draw To The Mile High CityFri, 17 Dec 2010
Source:Denver Post (CO) Author:Ingold, John Area:Colorado Lines:Excerpt Added:12/17/2010

The high temperature in Steve Lach's hometown in Hawaii on Thursday was 80 degrees, which is to say he had better have a darn good reason for spending the weekend in chilly Denver.

Starting today, Lach will be hunkered in a booth at KushCon, where he will be showing off and autographing his handmade smoking pipes, some of which are plated in 22-karat gold. If ever there were an example of the gravitational pull KushCon has had on the marijuana industry, Lach is it.

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5 US: New Trade Group's Focus Will Be Marijuana IndustryTue, 23 Nov 2010
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Frosch, Dan Area:United States Lines:69 Added:11/23/2010

DENVER -- It is being called the green rush. With more states moving to legalize medical marijuana, the business of growing and dispensing it is booming, even as much of the rest of the economy struggles.

Now, flush with financial clout, and with their eyes on pushing Congress to further loosen laws, medical marijuana industry leaders are forming a national trade association. While there are smaller, local trade groups, organizers around the country say this will be the first business organization working on the national level.

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6 US CA: Legalization's OpponentsThu, 07 Oct 2010
Source:North Coast Journal (Arcata, CA) Author:Geluardi, John Area:California Lines:452 Added:10/09/2010

Critics of Prop. 19 Range From Skeptical to Rabid -- and Some of Them Come From Inside the Movement

In 1911, after years of scandal and high-profile corruption trials, California voters overwhelmingly approved one of the most rigorous ballot initiative laws in the country. The idea was to allow voters to bypass state lawmakers when they were too timid, cowed, or corrupt to act on the voters' behalf. Almost a century later, the process is still relatively simple and accessible. Any group or individual can write an initiative and submit it with a $200 fee to the state attorney general's office. After the initiative's fiscal cost was analyzed, the signature gathering began. If the authors didn't have access to a large group of well-organized volunteers, signature gatherers could be easily hired at a price. For about $1 million, a professional company would send paid staffers to shopping malls, commercial districts, and public transportation hubs to collect roughly 440,000 signatures of registered voters required to qualify the initiative for the California bal! lot. And if the initiative won 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, it became law.

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7US CA: Little Consensus on Initiative to Legalize PotMon, 03 May 2010
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Fagan, Kevin Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/03/2010

Talk about murky.

The economic impact, the potential social and legal landscape, even the split between the pro and con sides in the squabble over the initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California - they're all about as clear as smoke from a bong.

Most medicinal-marijuana advocates think it would be just fine if good-time tokers joined their legal crowd. Others worry it might ruin the purity of using pot as medicine.

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8US CA: Column: Legalizing Marijuana Not Really a Dopey IdeaSun, 02 May 2010
Source:San Diego Union Tribune (CA) Author:Stetz, Michael Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/02/2010

Who knows, in the near future, on a Friday night after a tough week of work, those so inclined could legally fire up a joint.

And who knows, by California allowing that, some of this might happen:

A) The tax base gets a much-needed bump.

B) Cops can chase real bad guys, not recreational pot smokers.

C) The medical marijuana farce goes up in smoke because the drug can be had legally. (A lot of bad backs? Mysteriously cured!)

D) And another possible consequence: Prisons would have more room to house society's worst criminals, particularly violent sex offenders.

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9 US WA: Marijuana Bills Tempt Cash-Starved StatesTue, 06 Apr 2010
Source:Joplin Globe, The (MO)          Area:Washington Lines:224 Added:04/08/2010

(MCT) WASHINGTON - Mary Lou Dickerson had seen enough. After wrenching cuts to Washington's state drug and alcohol treatment programs, Dickerson, a Democratic representative, introduced a bill this year to sell marijuana in state liquor stores - and tax it.

Dickerson is an unlikely crusader for marijuana legalization. A 63-year-old grandmother who doesn't use it, she says money was the only reason for proposing her controversial bill. "According to the state's own estimates, it would bring in an additional $300 million per biennium," she says. "I dedicated (in the bill) a great deal of the proceeds from the tax on marijuana to treatment."

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10 US CA: Cannabis Country?Thu, 01 Apr 2010
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Anderson, Glenda Area:California Lines:162 Added:04/03/2010

Mendocino County's economic future may rest with a marijuana-fueled version of Wine Country, complete with tasting rooms, bud boutiques and pot-garden tourism.

"It's the only thing we have that brings money into the county," said Mendocino County Supervisor John Pinches, who believes that marijuana accounts for at least half of the county economy.

Estimates of the value of the county's pot crop range from $1.2 billion to $4.4 billion. In comparison, the county's total taxable retail sales were $1.3 billion in 2007, according to the Center for Economic Development at CSU Chico.

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11 US IN: Edu: California Marijuana Plan Unlikely For IndianaMon, 29 Mar 2010
Source:Exponent, The (Purdue U, IN Edu) Author:Oskvarek, Jonathan Area:Indiana Lines:71 Added:04/03/2010

California will vote in November on a proposal to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol or tobacco, but local legislators said any similar initiative in Indiana remains remote.

"The current system is an utter failure," said Aaron Smith, Marijuana Policy Project California policy director. "More teens are smoking marijuana than cigarettes."

If approved by the people, the proposal would allow adults 21 and older to posses up to an ounce of marijuana and for the state, along with counties and cities, to tax marijuana sales.

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12 US CA: Fine Hike Was Like Seeds in a Bag of Good WeedWed, 17 Mar 2010
Source:San Francisco Bay Guardian, The (CA) Author:Poblete, Jobert Area:California Lines:63 Added:03/18/2010

Legislation designed to help pot smokers instead had many of them going all like, "Dude, what the fuck?!?!" But the author is now telling everyone to chill out, no problem, he's got it under control.

California Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF) introduced a bill last month that would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana an infraction instead of a misdemeanor. As introduced, the bill Senate Bill 1449 would also raise fines to $250 from $100, which pot advocates and their allies thought was a serious bummer. But Leno called this a "drafting error" that he intends to correct with an amendment this week.

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13 US CA: Edu: Column: Refocus Weed LegalizationWed, 10 Feb 2010
Source:State Hornet, The (CA State, Sacramento, Edu) Author:Baum, Julia Area:California Lines:86 Added:02/11/2010

The first of three initiatives to fully legalize marijuana use in California went up in smoke on Jan. 15, 2010.

Written by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Assembly Bill 390 would have legalized marijuana use and sales for adults 21 years or older and imposed a $50 per ounce tax for drug education and rehabilitation.

Opponents of AB 390 cheered the failure as a victory for the safety of our state's children, but proponents of the bill still intend to bring the issue to the November election ballot.

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14 US CA: PUB LTE: Questions of FactSun, 31 Jan 2010
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:48 Added:02/01/2010

Re "Don't legalize marijuana," Opinion, Jan. 28

Skip Miller of D.A.R.E. America is entitled to his arcane opinions about marijuana, but his distortions of the truth are unacceptable.

Miller conveniently cites one physician's opinion that marijuana leads to cancer, but this belief is contradicted by research. Federally funded research on marijuana's health effects conducted at UCLA found that marijuana smoking does not lead to lung cancer. Moreover, a 2009 study published in the Cancer Prevention Research journal found that marijuana smokers actually have a lower risk of head and neck cancers than people who don't smoke marijuana.

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15 US CA: Edu: Judiciary Simplifies Unsettled Weed LawFri, 22 Jan 2010
Source:Daily Nexus (UC Santa Barbara, CA Edu) Author:Zeller, Jeremy Area:California Lines:87 Added:01/22/2010

The California Supreme Court overturned the limit on how much medical marijuana a patient can carry in a unanimous vote yesterday, ruling residents can have as much as personally necessary.

The court found the former limit of six mature plants and eight ounces of cannabis was not consistent with state law. California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, allowing residents to possess marijuana for medical use. Thursday's ruling puts a hold on a more than decade long legal debate about the meaning of the proposition, which said patients could possess whatever amount necessary for their "personal needs."

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16 US CA: PUB LTE: Guest Editorial On Cannabis Was WrongFri, 08 Jan 2010
Source:Visalia Times-Delta, The (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:53 Added:01/08/2010

It's hard to know where to even begin with my reaction to Chet Phillipe's guest commentary seeking to scare readers about the dangers of marijuana ("Your Editorial: Marijuana is not a harmless drug," Dec. 16). Just about every sentence in Phillipe's piece contains a fallacy. He makes wildly inaccurate claims about the health effects of marijuana, but he fails to cite a source for any of these so-called facts.

The tirade begins by claiming, "Marijuana is addicting and more dangerous than nicotine. ..." Every year, there are over 400,000 tobacco-related deaths in this country but no recorded deaths from marijuana ingestion. That's right, zero. As for addiction, the National Institute of Medicine concluded in 1999 that marijuana was far less addictive than other drugs -- including alcohol and nicotine.

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17 US CA: PUB LTE: Red Bluff Is Defying the LawSun, 08 Nov 2009
Source:Record Searchlight (Redding, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:42 Added:11/12/2009

The Red Bluff City Council decision to ban medical marijuana collectives and cultivation is either a shocking display of ignorance of basic civic principles or an outright defiance of the rule of law - likely, both.

State law and over a decade of legal precedent establish the rights of patients to cultivate medical marijuana. The Red Bluff council and its attorney needn't look further than Butte County to affirm this simple fact. In a decision the California Supreme Court let stand last month, the courts affirmed that seven Butte County patients could not be denied the right to collectively cultivate marijuana. State law is state law - no matter what part of California you happen to reside in.

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18US CA: PUB LTE: No Laughing MatterWed, 21 Oct 2009
Source:Times-Herald, The (Vallejo, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:10/22/2009

Malcolm Donahoo's sophomoric column poking fun at marijuana consumers has no place in a respectable newspaper like the Times-Herald. About 15 million Americans use marijuana at least monthly. Is Donahoo insinuating that all these individuals are useless couch potatoes or "Cheech and Chong" wannabes?

Marijuana consumers are everywhere. They come from all walks of life. The local grocer, attorney, mechanic, hairdresser, or even your local newspaper columnist might be a marijuana consumer. It's offensive that Donahoo would deride this major group of people who simply choose to unwind with a substance that is, by all objective measures, far safer than alcohol.

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19 US CA: OPED: Sensible Handling Of Marijuana Offenders IsTue, 20 Oct 2009
Source:Capitol Weekly (Sacramento, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:98 Added:10/20/2009

Among the many hard questions faced by legislators under the current budget mandate to cut $1.2 billion in corrections spending, there's at least one easy answer: release non-violent marijuana offenders and reform penalties for some marijuana offenses.

Patching the hole in our prison budget is going to require much more than early release programs. Serious sentencing reforms are inevitable, especially considering the looming court order to reduce the inmate population by 27 percent.

With dangerously overcrowded prisons, Californians can no longer afford to waste valuable cell space - not to mention the annual per- inmate cost of $49,000 - on non-violent marijuana offenders. If you think this conclusion is way too obvious to merit the column-inches in this publication, you might be surprised to know who didn't include marijuana sentencing reform in his list of prison cuts.

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20 US CA: Waging War on MarijuanaSat, 17 Oct 2009
Source:Union Democrat, The (Sonora, CA) Author:Damschroder, James Area:California Lines:243 Added:10/18/2009

Despite Efforts, Cultivation on the Rise

A marijuana farm discovered and destroyed in July in the Belleview area of Tuolumne County was an all too normal sight.

The garden was divided into three large plots slanting down a hillside-- linked by a network of tubes sucking water from a makeshift pool lined with blue tarps.

There were two camping areas, nestled between the gardens and bordering manzanita trees, littered with Spanish-language comic books, cookware, toilet paper, Mexican food products, a torn tarp serving as a canopy for dirt-caked sleeping bags, and the usual environmentally hazardous products: bags of fertilizer, mole traps and insect poison.

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21 US CA: Legal-Pot Backers Split on TimingSat, 03 Oct 2009
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Woo, Stu Area:California Lines:114 Added:10/03/2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- A majority of Californians in recent polls say the state should legalize marijuana. What pot proponents can't agree on is how soon voters will really be ready to approve legalization.

A schism has emerged among California's pot-legalization advocates. On one side are those pushing to get a proposition to voters quickly, including activists such as Richard Lee, who last month began collecting signatures to put a pot-legalization measure on the state's November 2010 ballot.

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22 US CA: PUB LTE: Letter to Lynette ShawTue, 01 Sep 2009
Source:Coastal Post, The (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:54 Added:09/01/2009

The California Legislature is convening from summer recess this week and one hot item on their agenda is making mandatory reductions to prison spending. The state's recently adopted budget relies on $1.2 billion in unspecified cuts to corrections spending and the governor and legislature will be deciding just where to cut in the days ahead. Please tell Gov. Schwarzenegger and the legislature that nonviolent marijuana offenders shouldn't be taking up space in our prisons!

A federal court recently declared that conditions in California's overcrowded prisons constitute "cruel and unusual punishment." In fact, the state is under court order to reduce the prison population by 27%. I trust that you agree that the more than 1,500 marijuana prisoners should be first in line for release.

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23 US CA: Altered StateThu, 27 Aug 2009
Source:Sacramento News & Review (CA) Author:Miller, Nick Area:California Lines:406 Added:08/27/2009

Legalization And Pot Clubs Grow Increasingly Popular, But California Law Enforcement Leaders And Other Squares Still Can't Think Outside Of The Box

Daylight blinds you as you emerge from the BART station underground onto the sidewalk. Your eyes adjust and the first thing you see is President Barack Obama smiling, so lifelike you could almost reach out and shake his hand. Except he's just a two-dimensional cardboard cutout in a window display below a sign reading "Oaksterdam University."

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24US CA: OPED: Legal Pot Industry Could Give State BoostSat, 15 Aug 2009
Source:Pasadena Star-News, The (CA) Author:Smith, Aaron Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:08/15/2009

In the wake of a California budget agreement that even those who supported it loathe for its tax increases and deep cuts to education and health care, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) has offered a proposal that will bolster the state's budget while protecting our environment and helping keep drugs away from kids.

Ammiano's bill, AB390, would put marijuana under the same regulatory system that now applies to beer, wine and liquor. It would end the bizarre and untenable situation in which California's largest cash crop - valued at $13.8billion annually - is almost completely untaxed. ("Almost" in the sense that Oakland voters recently passed an initiative taxing its legal medical marijuana dispensaries $18 per $1,000 in sales.)

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25US CA: OPED: Legalized Pot Is More Than a Tax BonanzaThu, 06 Aug 2009
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:08/11/2009

California's budget crisis has pushed the long policy debate over marijuana to center stage - no surprise, because marijuana is the state's largest cash crop, and the state is paying bills with IOUs and axing vital public services.

But the potential tax revenue - $1.4 billion, according to the Board of Equalization's recent analysis - of Assembly Bill 390, pending legislation seeking to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, may be the least important reason to end marijuana prohibition.

Unlike other budget plans on the table, from laying off police officers to increasing taxes on middle-class families, regulating marijuana would be a good move for California even if the state treasury were rolling in money.

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26 US CA: PUB LTE: Marijuana Regulation Is KeyFri, 24 Jul 2009
Source:San Francisco Examiner (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:34 Added:07/24/2009

Ken Garcia's July 21 column about efforts to reform our marijuana policy offers no solution to the failures of marijuana prohibition. He seems dedicated to opposing proposals to tax and regulate cannabis merely for the sake of being contrarian.

Garcia asserts that replacing prohibition with regulation would somehow not make marijuana easier to control, because local efforts to regulate medical marijuana have been imperfect. But medical marijuana has been without state regulation, as Garcia surely knows.

State regulation of alcohol and tobacco brought far greater stability and obedience to laws than the prohibition of marijuana -- a failed policy that has created only crime, environmental destruction and chaos. Anyone who supports maintaining the old marijuana policies is essentially endorsing that criminal market and all these social ills it brings.

One only needs to look to the lessons we should have learned from alcohol prohibition to see that marijuana prohibition is an equally embarrassing failure. If regulation isn't the answer, then what is?

F. Aaron Smith, California policy director, Marijuana Policy Project, Santa Rosa

[end]

27 US CA: California Sprouts Marijuana 'Green Rush'Sun, 19 Jul 2009
Source:Macon Telegraph (GA) Author:Wohlsen, Marcus Area:California Lines:334 Added:07/19/2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- A drug deal plays out, California-style:

A conservatively dressed courier drives a company-leased Smart Car to an apartment on a weekday afternoon. Erick Alvaro hands over a white paper bag to his 58-year-old customer, who inspects the bag to ensure that everything he ordered over the phone is there.

An eighth-ounce of organic marijuana buds for treating his seasonal allergies? Check. An eighth of a different pot strain for insomnia? Check. THC-infused lozenges and tea bags? Check and check, with a free herb-laced cookie thrown in as a thank-you gift.

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28 US CA: Budding ForceSun, 19 Jul 2009
Source:Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)          Area:California Lines:328 Added:07/19/2009

Medical Marijuana Becomes a Major Player in California Economy

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A drug deal plays out, California-style:

A conservatively dressed courier drives a company-leased Smart Car to an apartment on a weekday afternoon. Erick Alvaro hands over a white paper bag to his 58-year-old customer, who inspects the bag to ensure that everything he ordered over the phone is there.

An eighth-ounce of organic marijuana buds for treating his seasonal allergies? Check. An eighth of a different pot strain for insomnia? Check. THC-infused lozenges and tea bags? Check and check, with a free herb-laced cookie thrown in as a thank-you gift.

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29 US CA: California Sprouts Marijuana 'Green Rush'Sat, 18 Jul 2009
Source:Times-News, The (Twin Falls, ID) Author:Wohlsen, Marcus Area:California Lines:332 Added:07/18/2009

A Drug Deal Plays Out, California-Style:

A conservatively dressed courier drives a company-leased Smart Car to an apartment on a weekday afternoon. Erick Alvaro hands over a white paper bag to his 58-year-old customer, who inspects the bag to ensure that everything he ordered over the phone is there.

An eighth-ounce of organic marijuana buds for treating his seasonal allergies? Check. An eighth of a different pot strain for insomnia? Check. THC-infused lozenges and tea bags? Check and check, with a free herb-laced cookie thrown in as a thank-you gift.

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30 US CA: PUB LTE: About Time Solano Upheld The LawMon, 13 Jul 2009
Source:Daily Republic (Fairfield, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:47 Added:07/13/2009

It's good that Solano County supervisors finally voted to comply with the law that requires the county to issue the state's medical marijuana identification cards, but it's shocking that it took over five years ('County to issue marijuana cards,' Barry Eberling, June 23).

After all, California voters -- including those in Solano County -- made medical marijuana the law of the land and the ID cards simply make enforcing that law easier for local police.

Supervisors Jim Spering and Mike Reagan have some serious explaining to do. For these two county officials to intentionally and publicly vote to disobey the law, especially against the advice of the county's top attorney, is no less than complete insanity.

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31US CA: Council Moves Toward Regulation Of Medical PotSun, 05 Jul 2009
Source:Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA) Author:Zonkel, Phillip Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:07/05/2009

LONG BEACH - The City Council passed a motion Tuesday night moving toward the regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries.

By a 9 to 0 vote, the City Council requested a report within 60 days from City Attorney Robert Shannon that will address the feasibility, legality and enforcement of ordinances regarding medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives, which are also known as dispensaries or clubs.

The City Council wants the report to address eight considerations, including legal definitions of collectives; zoning criteria for the location and size of collectives within residential-zoned areas; the ability to prohibit any collective from being within 1,000 foot radius of schools, parks, licensed child care facilities or other collectives; an appropriate fee payable to the city prior to the dispensary receiving a permit.

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32 US CA: PUB LTE: Legalizing Pot SensibleFri, 22 May 2009
Source:Ventura County Star (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:46 Added:05/22/2009

Re: Timm Herdt's May 21 essay, "It's about the economy":

I appreciate that Herdt included my call for legal, taxed and regulated marijuana in his essay, but I don't think he realizes that this idea is no longer considered so "far out."

A recent Field Poll found that 56 percent of Californians favor legalizing and taxing marijuana to create a new revenue stream for the state -- more than twice those who support new sales or gas taxes.

California's budget crisis aside, marijuana prohibition isn't working. Just as alcohol Prohibition left booze in the hands of violent mobsters, marijuana prohibition is enriching brutal cartels south of the border but is doing nothing to stop marijuana use here at home.

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33 US CA: PUB LTE: Pot Prohibition Has FailedThu, 21 May 2009
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:40 Added:05/22/2009

Editor: The recent article highlighting the debate over the wisdom of marijuana prohibition was missing one important element: the perspective of someone representing the interests of those who support replacing prohibition with regulation -- now a majority opinion in California ("Marijuana takes center stage," by Dan Johnson, May 21).

Supervisor Mike Kerns' assertion that repealing prohibition would lead to widespread marijuana use isn't supported by the data. In the Netherlands, marijuana is sold to adults through regulated outlets, but use is nearly half what it is in the U.S. The fear that teen use would rise is also unfounded. Controlling marijuana through a legal system would be more effective at reducing teen availability than the current policy, which leaves marijuana in the hands of drug dealers with no incentive to card for age. More California teens report using marijuana than cigarettes because strict regulations on tobacco sales have successfully reduced availability to minors but marijuana is sold in virtually every American high school.

Prohibition has been an utter failure and if Supervisor Kerns hasn't realized that, he needs to get his head out of the sand.

F. Aaron Smith, California policy director, Marijuana Policy Project, Santa Rosa

[end]

34 US CA: Lake County Pot Grower Sentenced To 10 Years In PrisonTue, 19 May 2009
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Anderson, Glenda Area:California Lines:66 Added:05/19/2009

A Lake County man who pushed the boundaries of medical marijuana laws by growing more than 20,000 pot plants in plain view was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel ordered Charles "Eddy" Lepp, 56, to turn himself in to federal authorities July 6, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Dave Hall.

His supporters, outraged and upset, wept in the courtroom as Patel handed down the sentence, said Lepp's assistant, Rachel Cohen.

Lepp was convicted last year of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 pot plants and of cultivating more than 1,000 plants.

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35US CA: Supreme Court Rebuff Allows Sale Of Medicinal MarijuanaTue, 19 May 2009
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Santschi, Darrell R. Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/19/2009

San Bernardino County residents previously unable to lawfully purchase marijuana for medicinal uses should soon be able to do so after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear challenges to the state's medical marijuana law.

"The Supreme Court is the end of the road," said Allen Hopper, litigation director for the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug Law Reform Project. "There is no additional legal challenge left for the counties."

San Bernardino and San Diego counties had sued in San Diego County Superior Court three years ago contending that federal drug law trumps California law, therefore making the possession of marijuana in this state -- for medical or any other use -- illegal.

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36US CA: Schwarzenegger Stirs Debate On Legalizing MarijuanaSat, 09 May 2009
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Sanders, Jim Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:05/09/2009

Bill Clinton tried it in college - but didn't inhale.

Barack Obama inhaled.

"Frequently," he once quipped. "That was the point."

Bob Dylan sang about it: "Everybody must get stoned."

Weed, pot, grass, doobie, Mary Jane - whatever you call it, there is no mistaking the pungent smell of burning joints or their impact on California culture for decades.

But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opened a new front for discussion this week, saying that while it's not time to legalize pot, he's willing to talk about it as a revenue-raising measure.

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37 US CA: PUB LTE: California Needs to Tax and Regulate MarijuanaFri, 08 May 2009
Source:Capital Weekly (Sacramento, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:45 Added:05/08/2009

Dear Editor:

California voters are in no mood to approve the usual tactics of borrowing and increasing sales taxes to mend the state's budget mess. Recent Field Poll data not only predicts that Propositions 1A through 1E are destined for defeat; it looks like voters are strongly opposed to most other traditional revenue enhancement proposals (Field Polls released April 29 and April 30, 2009).

There is one idea that resonates with a clear majority of California voters: taxing and regulating marijuana. That's right, 56 percent of voters support legally taxing the sales of marijuana to help raise revenue for state programs -- that's more than twice the support for increasing sales or gas taxes.

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38 US CA: OPED: Stop Subsidizing Mexican CartelsSun, 03 May 2009
Source:North County Times (Escondido, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:100 Added:05/03/2009

The horrifying drug war-violence south of the border calls to mind the adage, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It's time to stop repeating failed policies that do nothing but subsidize Mexican drug gangs.

Americans have watched in horror as thousands have been brutally murdered by warring drug cartels. Haven't we been through this before? The answer, of course, is yes.

During the 13 dark years of U.S. alcohol prohibition, ruthless gangsters like Al Capone and "Bugs" Moran had a monopoly on the lucrative booze market.

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39 US CA: PUB LTE: Taxing MarijuanaSun, 03 May 2009
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:44 Added:05/03/2009

EDITOR: The grim outlook for state and local budgets apparently has Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, feeling the need to advocate for an extremely unpopular proposal to allow local governments to increase taxes ("Scant public support for Evans' tax proposal," April 25).

Instead of supporting unpopular taxes, Evans should sign on as a co- sponsor to AB 390 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. This legislation would legalize, tax and regulate California's biggest cash crop: marijuana.

A Field Poll conducted in April indicated that Ammiano's plan is among the most popular revenue-enhancement proposals being considered in Sacramento. Fifty-six percent of Californians support legally taxing marijuana to raise revenue for the state -- more than twice the number of those who approve of raising sales or gas taxes and certainly more than would support Evans' proposal.

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40US CA: Acquitted Tulare County Man Asks For Pot BackTue, 14 Apr 2009
Source:Fresno Bee, The (CA) Author:Jimenez, Eddie Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:04/15/2009

Medical Marijuana User Says Officials Shouldn't Keep Half His 12 Pounds.

After medical marijuana user Richard Daleman was found not guilty of cultivating and selling marijuana, he figured Tulare County officials would hand back the 12 pounds that were confiscated during his arrest.

He figured wrong -- prosecutors say they only have to return half, because his physician's recommendation allows him up to 6 pounds of marijuana.

And no, Assistant District Attorney Don Gallian said, he's not going to sift through the 12 pounds to pick out the "best buds," as Daleman had requested: "We don't do that sort of thing. I don't have that expertise."

[continues 600 words]

41 US: Obama Pushes Agenda in Web ForumFri, 27 Mar 2009
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL) Author:Oliphant, James Area:United States Lines:98 Added:03/27/2009

'Virtual' Town Hall a Spin on Favored Campaign Device

WASHINGTON--Bringing a high-tech twist to the familiar forum of the town hall meeting, President Barack Obama on Thursday hosted a "virtual" town hall in the East Room of the White House, answering questions from attendees and from participants online.

The event, which was broadcast live by cable news networks, was the latest in a series of aggressive steps Obama has taken recently in an attempt to reach the public without relying on the traditional news media--a tactic he employed with great success during his presidential campaign.

[continues 500 words]

42 US CA: OPED: Tapping into California's Forgotten Cash Crop Makes SenseThu, 05 Mar 2009
Source:Capitol Weekly (Sacramento, CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:91 Added:03/05/2009

In the wake of a budget agreement that even those who supported it loathe for its tax increases and deep cuts to education and health care, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-SanFrancisco) has offered a proposal that will bolster the state's budget while protecting our environment and helping keep drugs away from kids.

Ammiano's bill, AB 390, would put marijuana under the same regulatory system that now applies to beer, wine and liquor. It would end the bizarre and untenable situation in which California's largest cash crop - valued at $13.8 billion annually - is completely untaxed.

[continues 545 words]

43 US CA: PUB LTE: Prohibition Has FailedFri, 27 Feb 2009
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:37 Added:02/28/2009

It's unfortunate that the entrenched drug warriors who've expressed their blind opposition to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's legislation to regulate and tax marijuana couldn't have given this proposal more thought before spewing their old, stale talking points. For example, the response from Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, that perhaps the state's largest cash crop should be taxed is: "I think substance abuse is just ruining our society."

I'm not so sure that our society is already in ruin, but this generalization about "substance abuse" ignores the fact that marijuana is far less toxic or addictive than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. The most serious harm comes not from marijuana itself but from laws that have given criminals a monopoly on its production and distribution - enjoying tax-free income while they damage our environment and make marijuana far more easily available to kids than it would be under a regulated system.

Marijuana prohibition has been a dismal failure. It's time we try a new approach and Assembly Bill 390 is a step in the right direction.

F. Aaron Smith California Policy Director, Marijuana Policy Project

Santa Rosa

[end]

44US CA: Column: It's High Time To Legalize California PotTue, 24 Feb 2009
Source:Sacramento Bee (CA) Author:Walters, Dan Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/24/2009

Habitual use of marijuana may be a dumb thing to do, but really, is it any dumber, or more harmful, than abusing liquor or smoking cancer-causing cigarettes?

The difference, of course, is that while possession of marijuana in small amounts is no more illegal than a traffic infraction, selling it can be a serious crime. And those who sell it and those who commit other crimes to buy it represent a significant portion of those locked in California's very overcrowded prisons.

[continues 399 words]

45US CA: Column: It's Time for State to Legalize MarijuanaTue, 24 Feb 2009
Source:Fresno Bee, The (CA) Author:Walters, Dan Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:02/24/2009

Habitual use of marijuana may be a dumb thing to do, but really, is it any dumber, or more harmful, than abusing liquor or smoking cancer-causing cigarettes?

The difference, of course, is that while possession of marijuana in small amounts is no more illegal than a traffic infraction, selling it can be a serious crime. And those who sell it and those who commit other crimes to buy it represent a significant portion of those locked in California's very overcrowded prisons.

[continues 399 words]

46 US CA: OPED: Medical Marijuana Law Is ImperfectSun, 15 Feb 2009
Source:San Bernardino Sun (CA) Author:Hoops, Sheriff Rod Area:California Lines:66 Added:02/15/2009

I read with interest the guest commentary written by F. Aaron Smith regarding the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department's policies on medical marijuana. (Re: "Medical pot policy needs change," Feb. 2.)

As incoming sheriff, I will take the opportunity to review our practices and policies in regard to a number of issues. I appreciate Mr. Smith's opinion, and as a public servant, value any citizen's input when it comes to how we do our job.

The county of San Bernardino is a party to a lawsuit which is asking for clarification of the conflict between federal laws which prohibit the possession of marijuana under any circumstances and the state's medical marijuana law which allows possession to authorized users and their caregivers. This action is being litigated by salaried county counsel at no additional cost to taxpayers.

[continues 319 words]

47 US CA: PUB LTE: Depressurizing The PrisonsSat, 14 Feb 2009
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:34 Added:02/14/2009

The tentative federal court decision to release up to 57,000 inmates from California's overcrowded prisons is yet another reminder of the catastrophic failure of our state's correctional system. California needs comprehensive sentencing reform and an overhaul of our parole system.

But what can we do now? I don't have the magic bullet, but one obvious place to start is to immediately release all prisoners incarcerated on marijuana-related offenses. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reports that about 1,500 people are behind bars for marijuana-related felonies. When California is faced with the prospect of releasing violent criminals and individuals whom Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown considers "deeply disturbed," not even one person should be incarcerated for a nonviolent marijuana offense.

F. Aaron Smith

Santa Rosa

The writer is California policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

[end]

48 US CA: Marijuana Advocacy Group Claims Supervisors Violated LawThu, 22 Jan 2009
Source:San Bernardino Sun (CA) Author:Nelson, Joe Area:California Lines:69 Added:01/23/2009

SAN BERNARDINO - A marijuana advocacy group claims the Board of Supervisors violated the state's open meeting law by failing to disclose publicly its decision to appeal its lawsuit challenging California's medical marijuana law to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project maintains that the board, at its Aug. 26 meeting, voted in a closed-door session to appeal its joint lawsuit with San Diego County to the state Supreme Court after a San Diego County judge ruled in favor of the state.

[continues 303 words]

49US CA: SB County Accused Of Violating Brown ActThu, 22 Jan 2009
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Ghori, Imran Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/22/2009

San Bernardino County is being accused of violating the Brown Act, California's open-meeting law, as it challenges the state's medical marijuana user program.

San Bernardino County joined San Diego County three years ago in challenging the program, which requires it to issue medical-marijuana identification cards to patients.

The counties petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case last week. The courts have so far ruled against them, upholding the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 1996.

[continues 235 words]

50US CA: OPED: A Neglected Revenue Source for California - MarijuanaTue, 13 Jan 2009
Source:San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Author:Smith, F. Aaron Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/13/2009

Only if you lived in a cave could you avoid news about California's dire financial situation. The governor and legislators still disagree about what to do, but all of the proposals aimed at closing the state's $42 billion budget gap are painful and politically unpopular. One obvious way to take a big chunk out of the deficit - without closing schools or putting the sick and elderly out on the streets - hasn't even been discussed. Tax marijuana.

New sin taxes are likely going to be part of the solution to our financial woes. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a nickel-per-drink alcohol tax increase last year. More recently, Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, introduced legislation to tack on an additional $2.10 per pack in cigarette taxes. Yet marijuana, California's largest cash crop, is completely untaxed.

[continues 394 words]


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