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Olympic medalist Ross Rebagliati becomes marijuana entrepreneur

Marijuana gave Olympic medalist snowboarder Ross Rebagliati a measure of notoriety. Now the budding Canadian entrepreneur is betting the same drug will give him a shot at redemption.

Mr. Rebagliati, who briefly lost his snowboarding gold at the 1998 Winter Games in Japan after testing positive for marijuana, is building up a weed “branding and licensing” company he hopes will rise on a wave of demand for legal pot investments.

Mr. Rebagliati is tapping into a surge in interest in medical marijuana, which spiked in April when the Canadian government moved to commercialize production. That’s sparked a “dot-bong” boom, or “green rush,” reminiscent of the late ’90s dot-com era or the gold rush in the Klondike a century earlier.

“It’s gone from non-existent in the legitimate market to one that could be potentially worth several billion dollars in a span of 12 to 24 months,” said Khurram Malik, the Toronto-based co-head of research at Jacob Securities Inc., which is seeking business from weed companies looking to go public.


Meanwhile, Congress dawdles, picks the dirt under its fingernails, and wonders why Americans think they're useless. Even former Cabinet Members of the Canadian government are starting businesses as commercial growers.

America is the laughingstock of the world on this issue - well, Putin probably thinks the drug warriors are the cool kids... but he would.

Israel and Canada Join To Study and Implement Medical Marijuana Uses

Israel has been at the forefront of marijuana research since Raphael Mechoulam isolated and identified the THC molecule in the 1960s.

The Israeli government distributes medical marijuana through MECHAR, a tax-supported cannabis provider network. Funding for research comes from the Israeli Ministry of Health, and from private contributions. Israel has a flourishing $40 million dollar medical cannabis industry.

While research efforts have been constantly, obnoxiously hindered in the states by federal agencies (as well as petty religious zealots like Arizona's Kimberly Yee), the Israeli government is funding and supporting breakthrough research on the many healing potentials of the cannabis plant. Doctors from around the world look to Israel for their path-breaking studies in the use of cannabis to treat basal-cell carcinoma, PTSD, Crohn's disease, fibromyaliga, Parkinsons' Disease and, now, pediatric epilepsy.

The patient-approval process is much more rigorous than California, America's originator of legal medical cannabis for states, and is often aimed at end of life issues.

While Israel has a historically strict drug policy, it does not share the U.S.’s lengthy and tumultuous history with the cannabis plant. ...(and) doesn't have a “stoner” stereotype—while Israelis are often wary of trying the new drug, there is no serious stigma surrounding the use of the cannabis herb for medical purposes. So... there was “never any question” that cannabis would be viewed as “strictly medical” when it was introduced to Israeli patients.

Instead of marijuana, however, Israel does has a hash subculture. Hash is the traditional form of cannabis in the region. Mechoulam obtained his first cannabis for research from hashish seizures. He and his research partners first tested the hashish themselves before conducting their research, as Mechoulam has related many times when telling this history.

Boaz Wachtel, and his participation in Israel’s Ale Yarok political party, is credited with the effort to decriminalize cannabis in Israel.

Wachtel said Israel—which has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world and produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation—has become a world leader in cannabis research as a result of the U.S.’s continued blockade of cannabis research. He says this is wonderful for Israel, but not for society at large.

“By denying people access to medical cannabis the U.S. has criminalized patients,” he said.


So, because of America's religious zealots, scientific research finds friendlier environs outside of their reach. The Republican Party needs to jettison this faction because they are harming this nation by their anti-science, hair-on-fire zealotry. While other nations are operating multi-million dollar research projects, collaborating across nations to supply data looking at what may be the most important medical breakthrough of the late twentieth century - the discovery and study of the endocannabinoid system and the interaction with cannabis to maintain homeostasis - the U.S. has to deal with reactionaries like Kimberly Yee, Chris Christie, and groups like SAM.

If these reactionaries would simply acknowledge that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and best managed outside of the black market for things other than medical uses, we could move forward, rather than remain a nation that gives Nixon high fives in his grave every time a drug warrior opens his or her mouth.

(Patrick Kennedy, at the SAM site, has a big picture and quote about cannabis causing mental illness, when this has recently, yet again, been rebuked by science. We now have Kennedys on record as an anti-vaccination crusader and drug war liar. If anyone wants to know why I despise political dynasties, those are prime examples... but I digress.)

Cynic that I am, I have to wonder how much the alcohol industry lobby plays into the concerns about cannabis...


Neil Closner, the former vice president of Business Development for Toronto’s world-renowned Mount Sinai Hospital, is now CEO of MedReleaf, a licensed producer and supplier of medical cannabis which works out of a 55,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Markham, Ontario, just minutes east of Toronto.

As Closner noted, Israel and Canada are coming together to combine the growing skills of Canadian marijuana growers (one of three areas in the world, since Ronald Reagan, that focused on hybridization of marijuana, along with Amsterdam and Northern California.)

As of January 2014, both Israel and Canada, along with other nations, have contacted Uruguay, the first nation to legalize cannabis since the U.S. demanded worldwide illegal status in the Uniform Narcotics Act(s), to grow cannabis for their nations. In Uruguay, the marijuana industry is entirely nationalized. Production, sale and distribution of cannabis is all contained within a governing entity that allows consumers to purchase 40 grams (1.4 oz) per month for $1.00/gram.

Uruguay, Canada and Israel have all decided to ignore the (largely ceremonial, or cover for nations) United Nations International Narcotic Control Board, which refuses to recognize the medical value of cannabis because this board follows the will of federal agencies in the U.S. who do not recognize the medical value of cannabis. Uruguay's President, in response to INCB criticism, said his government aims to take the marijuana market out of the hands of cartels and put it into the hands of the people of the nation...and into the hands of people in the nation of Israel, and the researchers there looking at marijuana as a palliative for many health issues related to aging.

...“Tikun Olam,” (Hebrew for “repairing the world”) is in partnership with, MedReleaf, (and) is also currently collaborating on nearly two dozen cannabis-related research studies with doctors and professors at eight leading hospitals in Israel including the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, Sheba Medical Center at Tel hashomer, Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba and Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Centre.

...“Our partnership with Tikun Olam gives us a significant scientific advantage,” says Closner. “We have access to treatment data from more than 7,000 of their patients, that will give us great insight into the effectiveness and efficacy of various strains and, in turn, an advanced ability to work with patients and physicians to create the most beneficial treatment protocols. The partnership also provides us with exclusive access to an array of proprietary medical cannabis varieties.”

Two of the varieties to which Closner refers are Erez, the best-selling variety in Israel, and AviDekel. Erez, with its high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, is well known for treating sleep disorders and managing pain, nausea, inflammation, and indigestion. AviDekel, a sativa-dominant strain, contains very high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), and virtually no THC, which, by the way, means no “getting high.” CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that has been shown to have a positive impact on disorders such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis and epilepsy, amongst other ailments.

If Canada and Israel combine with Uruguay to obtain cannabis for research, no doubt Uruguay will also become a leading nation in the production of cannabis strains chosen for medical purposes.

In the meantime, MedReleaf projects they will up their capacity to grow 150,000 plants at any one time to supply medical cannabis for Canadians and Israelis.

And in the meantime, small-time, small-minded state and federal Senators hold up or deny medical research, federal agencies deny federal research, Congress refuses to address the issue of cannabis scheduling, and the world goes on without them, leaving them to their places, in the dustbin of history, as footnotes to explain how the U.S. gave up its place as a world-class research nation because...reefer madness.

Maybe the drug warriors would like to look at the new-fangled use of leeches to draw bad humors out of the body.

Let freedom ring

...somewhere. In the U.S., here's the toll on freedom from the drug war.

via Mark Perry: More than 100k and ~50% of federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses

http://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_offenses.jsp … pic.twitter.com/0kWBHGSJwg

"Substance-involved people have come to compose a large portion of the prison population. Substance use may play a role in the commission of certain crimes: approximately 16 percent of people in state prison and 18 percent of people in federal prison reported committing their crimes to obtain money for drugs.21 Treatment delivered in the community is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent such crimes and costs approximately $20,000 less than incarceration per person per year.22 A study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy found that every dollar spent on drug treatment in the community yields over $18 in cost savings related to crime. In comparison, prisons only yield $.37 in public safety benefit per dollar spent. Releasing people to supervision and making treatment accessible is an effective way of reducing problematic drug use, reducing crime associated with drug use and reducing the number of people in prison."

Source: Justice Policy Institute, "How to safely reduce prison populations and support people returning to their communities," (Washington, DC: June 2010), p. 8.http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/10-06_FAC_ForImmediateRelease...

Former Drug Czar Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey "We must have law enforcement authorities address the issue because if we do not, prevention, education, and treatment messages will not work very well. But having said that, I also believe that we have created an American gulag."

Source: Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey (USA, Ret.), Director, ONDCP, Keynote Address, Opening Plenary Session, National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research, National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 19, 1996, Washington, DC.
- See more at: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Prisons_and_Drugs#sthash.U4B45FaQ.dpuf

Univ. of Arizona Professor FIRED after receiving approval to study PTSD and mmj.


The University of Arizona has abruptly fired a prominent marijuana researcher who only months ago received rare approval from federal drug officials to study the effects of pot on patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The firing of Suzanne A. Sisley, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, puts her research in jeopardy and has sparked indignation from medical marijuana advocates.

Sisley charges she was fired after her research – and her personal political crusading – created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its purse strings.

“This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers,” Sisley said. “I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance.”

The University denied political pressure was the reason for Sisley's abrupt firing. They provided no information to Sisley, other than to note the university's ability to fire contract employees at will. (iow, she's not a tenure track professor.)

Speculation is that a powerful Republican Senator is behind the firing. So much for university research integrity, Arizona - what an embarrassment you are to the educational/research community if this is the reason Sisley was fired WITHOUT ANY CAUSE. Who is this Senator? Most likely the same one who has tried to block medical marijuana for the state: Kimberly Yee (Phoenix).

Here's what she did in April:

After 22 years of hard-fought efforts, the non-profit pharmaceutical company MAPS has finally obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a FDA clinical trial to examine the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana. The trial would study military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet the study’s ability to receive Arizona state funding is in jeopardy due to State Senator Kimberly Yee.

Arizona has collected millions of dollars from its medical marijuana program. Under Arizona’s medical marijuana law, that money is reserved for furthering the provisions of the law and should include research and education – but none of it has been spent. A bill being considered by lawmakers would give the Arizona Department of Health Services discretion to use some of this surplus funding to study the medical benefits of marijuana. On Mach 10th, the bill HB 2333, sponsored by State Representative Ethan Orr of Tucson, passed the Arizona House 52-5, with strong bi-partisan support. But State Senator Kimberly Yee (Phoenix), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, refused to put the bill on her committee’s agenda before the March 20th deadline – saying only that she wanted the funds to be directed for drug abuse prevention.

Veterans like Ricardo Pereyda of Tucson, who fought in combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2, are angry that Senator Yee wouldn’t allow the bill to be heard in her committee. “Being able to treat multiple symptoms from post-traumatic stress with cannabis has been instrumental in my ability to lead a full and productive life,” said Pereyda, “Senator Yee is placing politics before science, and doing so at the expense of our combat veterans.” Pereyda served in the U.S. Army and Military Police Corps, and is the Veterans Liaison for Arizona NORML.


WHAT A SCUMBAG. Yee is trying to halt studies into the efficacy of medical marijuana for Vets. PTSD is really, really difficult to treat. While it shares symptoms with depression and anxiety, PTSD has a lower rate of relief of symptoms from any currently known medication for either anxiety or depression, and some of these medicines may be used to commit suicide. Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide.

Yee is SUCH A REPUBLICAN SCUMBAG to obstruct medical marijuana for veterans. I am, honestly, disgusted.

If you live in Arizona and would like to support research for Vets suffering from PTSD, you can contact Yee here: http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=90&Legislature=50&Session_ID=107

...While older veterans saw a slight decrease in suicides, male veterans under 30 saw a 44 percent increase in the rate of suicides. That’s roughly two young veterans a day who take their own life, most just a few years after leaving the service.

“Their rates are astronomically high and climbing,” said Jan Kemp, VA’s National Mental Health Director for Suicide Prevention. “That’s concerning to us.”

Reasons for the increase are unclear, but Kemp said the pressures of leaving military careers, readjusting to civilian life and combat injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder all play a role in the problems facing young male vets.

Female veterans saw an 11 percent increase in their suicide rate over the same span. Overall, suicide rates for all veterans remain significantly above their civilian counterparts.


This nation needs to get rid of these drug warriors at EVERY LEVEL OF GOVERNMENT, IN EVERY STATE.

Yee is also a reactionary anti-woman Republican who sought to ban all abortions after 20 weeks, no matter the medical situation or recommendation of a doctor. WTF is the matter with women in Arizona? How can women vote for someone like this?

When Yee tried to block funding for this research, colleagues of Sisley's started a recall effort. Sisley was not involved, but, obviously, Yee is such a (word I can't say here) that she has taken another route to interfere with research into the health benefits of marijuana for veterans with PTSD.

Yee demonstrates what happens when religious assholes have power. The ACLU is looking into options to fight Sisley's firing.

Kimberly Yee is a scumbag. I hope we can help google know what a total scumbag Kimberly Yee really is. Veterans who defend this nation don't need scumbags like Kimberly Yee in office to further harm them.

Libertarian Politicians move to marijuana industry

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson has been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products.

Johnson said Tuesday he was recently named CEO and president of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., and intends to work out of New Mexico to help develop products that are legal in states like Colorado and Washington.

In addition, of Cannabis Sativa announced Tuesday it has acquired marijuana research company Kush and named that company's founder, Steve Kubby, as its chairman.

Kubby was the 1998 Libertarian Party nominee for California governor.


Democrats - take note. If you have people like Cuomo fighting against even medical marijuana, you're not going to win independent votes in places where the liquor lobby (and the drug warriors who defend it - c.f. Kevin Sabet) doesn't have the social power that it does in the northeast.

Western state voters, both Democratic and libertarian, made legalization happen in Colorado. It looks like New Mexico and Nevada may be the next states, after Alaska and Oregon.

...and the northeast just keeps playing those same old tired tunes about reefer madness.

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Washington D.C. set to put marijuana legalization on ballot



Sixteen years ago, D.C. activists gathered signatures to let voters decide if the District should be among the first in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Then Congress stepped in, and city officials were not even allowed to count the ballots that voters had cast.

Inside a rented house in Northwest Washington, behind a shaggy bear skin rug strung up as a makeshift curtain and amid rollaway beds set up for signature gatherers who have come from as far away as California and Colorado, there’s growing anxiety that history is about to repeat itself.

Organizers for Initiative 71, a measure that would fully legalize possession of marijuana in the District, plan to announce this week that they are closing in on 60,000 signatures — a comfortable buffer over the 22,600 needed to ensure the measure qualifies for the November ballot.

District voters support legalization by a ration of 2 to 1, polls show. The city has medical marijuana dispensaries and is taking steps to soon loosen restraints and let doctors recommend the drug for any ailment. The D.C. Council even voted in March to decriminalize possession, making it a fine of $25, instead of a year-long jail term.

This is one to watch, folks. It may well be the tipping point - combined with Oregon and Alaska.

Vive les personnes

or les acunes, or les pas des...

The fastest growing religious trend in the nation is "not any" - or belief in no one's doctrine. Some of those within this group state they have spiritual beliefs, but they do not align with any church.

The reason for the growth in this group seems to stem from the 1980 takeover of the Republican Party by the religious right. Those who were coming of age at that time have since raised children - and the children of Americans who were born when the religious right was throwing around their power comprise the least religious group in the United States.

While religious believers were crowing about their importance to the family, many families took one look at them and said, "No thank you. I'll raise my child to reject your political and religious beliefs."

The religious right has continued to exert enormous influence over American political life. The outcome of religious involvement in politics has been the creation of generations who want nothing to do with religion, while some are plenty interested in politics, especially in opposition to the religious right.

This bodes well for American economic policy changes. Back in the dark, dark ages, McCarthy, and, along with him, the religious right, attacked anyone who supported social policies to address wealth disparity. To this day, religious right wingers foam at the mouth at the mention of social democracy (I've seen it from some o.f. talking about Canada's ssssssocialist health care policy...)

The opposition to social democratic reform has long come from the religious right. Those who reject religious doctrine, on the other hand, can look at policy issues dispassionately. They can look at the reality that social democracies have greater social mobility than the U.S.

One reason they have greater social mobility is because social democracies do not have the depth of poverty that is allowed in the U.S. as a "good christian nation." Those Marxists, Pope Francis noted, took ideas from the Beatitudes. But they did more than spout the words. They created policy that made wealth taxation possible, and this social safety net created the means by which the poor could escape from poverty.

Americans would prefer a nation that is arranged like social democracies. They just deny how this is achieved because the Republican Party, and the religious right that undergirds it, has lied to their congregants/voters for DECADES about the way such mobility and greater equality are achieved.

These goals are achieved by taxation on wealth that goes to fund healthcare and education (from preschool to the university), that guarantees a living wage in a job, and that reserves the right to nationalize industries on behalf of the citizens of those nations in the event of something like the international banking crisis of 2007/8.

Those who prefer no religion don't come with the built in bias of the older "hrmph, godless commies" of the older generations. Even when pollsters use the "scare word" socialism, the voters who are looking for a party now, as they develop a political conscience, approve of socialism more than capitalism.

As the link a couple of paragraphs above notes, when pollsters don't use scare words, but just ask how they would like wealth to be distributed, the overwhelming marjority approves of "socialism" as part of economic policy.

The sad thing is that the media in the U.S. has conspired with the religious right and corporate conservatives to deny knowledge to the public of how deep the divide is between the wealthy and everyone else...and, beyond that, the divide between the middle class and the poor. When the media work to keep Americans ignorant about the outcome of economic policies, you have to assume their loyalty is to who writes their checks, not to the truth.

The truth is that Americans have rejected the Republican Party, and they want a political party that will represent their economic interests. The group that will make this come to pass are those who are not restricted by religious fears. Those voters are our future.

Bill Clinton's Remarks Show How Political Opinion Has Changed

In an interview with David Gregory this week:

"I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing," Clinton said. "I think there are a lot of unresolved questions, but I think we should leave it to the states. This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going."

While Clinton stopped short of endorsing legalization at the federal level, he said he supports states' experimentation.

Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said Clinton's remarks reflect how legalization has progressed from a once politically untouchable issue to a mainstream cause.

"These comments from a skilled politician who knows how to stake out positions that resonate with the majority of voters show just how far the politics of this issue have shifted in favor of legalization," Angell said in a statement to The Huffington Post. "When Bill Clinton was president his administration tried to punish doctors just for discussing medical marijuana with their patients. Now he not only says that there's a lot of evidence to support medical marijuana, but he thinks states should be able to legalize marijuana outright without the feds standing in the way. Whereas this issue was once seen as a political third rail, there's no question it has now emerged into the mainstream. Polls show that the majority of voters support legalization, and today's politicians have no choice but to catch up or get left behind."

Nevertheless, Clinton's position appears to be to more conservative than that of the Obama administration's. Obama noted the racial disparity in arrests when he discussed this issue, and his administration has worked to change sentencing laws that discriminated against African Americans. Obama has spoken out directly to the public, through an interview, to state that he likens marijuana use to alcohol use. Obama's reaction to the legalization votes in CO and WA state is far, far more liberal than Clinton's reaction was when California's medical marijuana initiative passed.

During his time in office: Clinton Administration officials denounced the California law and a similar successful ballot initiative in Arizona as significant threats to the Government's efforts to limit the traffic in illegal drugs and to persuade younger Americans, in particular, not to use them.

...the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy led the Government in a public relations offensive.

This was after the bipartisan support for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, that led to the creation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has spent millions of dollars on failed advertising campaigns and paid large salaries to bureaucrats to design ineffective propaganda aimed at the American people.

At that time, GLBT activist Dennis Peron was at the forefront of the medical marijuana movement. Peron lived through the HIV/AIDS crisis, when compassionate caregivers brought marijuana brownies to patients dying from AIDS-related cancer. By 1991, an overwhelming number of Californians wanted to make marijuana available to patients whose government had told them it didn't care about them, or, in fact, was openly hostile to them. This was the ten year legacy of the religious right.

The medical marijuana movement did not come from people who said... oh, yeah, let's use this as a way to bring legalization to the table. The medical marijuana movement began as a compassionate response to personal suffering, something the government of this nation ridiculed or ignored for a decade.

The AIDS crisis emerged in the 1980s, at the same time that the religious right gained ascendancy in the U.S. in the Republican Party. The Southern Strategy, birthed from racist reaction to the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, courted the white, often southern, religious voter. The media engaged in a propaganda campaign, with talk about a crack cocaine epidemic, that led to harsh penalties under Reagan and Bush aimed at minorities. Obama's Justice Department has worked to correct these racist laws through sentencing reform that treats all cocaine use equally. Back then...

Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates stated that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot.”

Newt Gringrich proposed the death penalty for possession of marijuana over a certain amount.

The legacy of the Reagan/Bush Sr. years was property forfeiture, expanded police powers, militarization of the police, zero- tolerance policy, and an expanded prison system. And virulent racism and homophobia.

Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." [link:Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan's surgeon general, has said that because of "intradepartmental politics" he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was "because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs." http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Reagan-s-AIDS-Legacy-Silence-equals-death-2751030.php|(Reagan's) advisers, Koop said, "took the stand, 'They are only getting what they justly deserve.' "]

Reagan's attitude was to ignore the AIDS crisis and leave it to the states to devise strategies to deal with a national health crisis.

Recognizing the limitations of attempting reform through the legislature, Dennis Peron spearheaded a drive to legalize marijuana by bringing the issue directly to state voters in the 1996 election. Since the turn of the 20th century, California’s constitution has allowed citizens and organizations to put initiatives on statewide ballots for a yes-or-no vote. This referendum process is a legacy from the Progressive Era of the same time period designed to bolster direct democracy. To get his initiative on the November ballot, Peron needed to gather 433,000 signatures, a long and expensive undertaking that required significant organization and financial resources.

To mobilize this effort, Peron and his allies formed a political action group (PAC) known as Californians for Compassionate Use that took the responsibility of writing the initiative, which it titled “The Compassionate Use Act.” However, this measure also benefited from the substantial largess of a PAC known as California for Medical Rights, whose donors included George Soros, a billionaire financier, and Laurence Rockefeller, of Rockefeller family fame. With over $1 million, supporters of the measure gathered about 850,000 signatures, which Peron noted was one-fifth of the total number of votes that they needed for passage in November.

Two months after the passage of the Compassionate Use Act, the Clinton Administration took a coordinated hard line against the new law. In a press conference, Barry McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control and Policy announced that: “Nothing has changed. Federal law is unaffected by these propositions.” Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala worried that California’s initiative reinforced the belief that marijuana was benign. Finally, Attorney General Janet Reno stated that she was reallocating federal enforcement resources to target California physicians who recommended marijuana to their patients, threatening to revoke their registration with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and prohibit them from participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Despite staunch federal opposition, subsequent court rulings blunted some of the threats, even though they did not provide much clarity on the everyday legality of medical marijuana use in California. For example, not long after the Clinton Administration’s strong rebuke of the new Californian law, a group of physicians, patients, and nonprofits filed a complaint (Conant v. seeking to block the federal government from punishing physicians that recommended marijuana to their patients. This complaint, known as Conant v. McCaffrey, was settled in September of 2000, when the US District Court for Northern California (a federal judiciary) issued a ruling that limited the ability of federal officials to punish physicians who prescribed medical marijuana under the guidelines of Proposition 215.


Clinton actively courted the GLBT vote, after Democrats saw that Republicans had cornered the religious bigot vote. The party reached out to the voting bloc the religious right actively hated... and continues to hate. Clinton's stance on AIDS was a huge improvement over Reagan and Bush Sr.

...but Clinton didn't recognize the interplay of the GLBT voter concerns at the time and medical marijuana.

When Clinton took office, the prison population had grown to 1.3 million. When he left office, the prison population had grown to 2 million. That number now stands at something like 2.4 million, part of a three-year decrease.

Initially people had hope for the Clinton administration because the appointment of Dr. Joyce Elders was a progressive move. Elders spoke about the need for sensible sex education strategies. She was also open to discussion of medical marijuana. Clinton immediately caved to conservative criticism and fired her.

He went after outspoken author Peter McWilliams. The author choked on his own vomit because he could not use marijuana to keep down his HIV and cancer medications after his arrest, or his mother would forfeit her house, her only asset.

...The Clinton years saw outlandishly cruel persecution of the ill. Among the thousands prosecuted for use of medical marijuana is Jimmy Montgomery, an Oklahoma paraplegic with no criminal record. In 1995, he received a life sentence for possession of less than one and a half ounces of marijuana-a sentence later commuted to life at home when it was discovered the state couldn't afford to treat his condition in prison. Another Oklahoman with no prior arrests, arthritis sufferer Will Foster, received 93 years in 1997 for a small medical-marijuana garden he had in his basement. (His term has since been reduced to 20 years.) And Tom Brown of Arkansas, busted
by the DEA in 1995, (served) a 10-year sentence for growing marijuana for medical use.

Welcome to the new world, Bill.

The American people who are not part of the republican party or right wing overwhelmingly support full legalization.

Public support for legalizing marijuana use is at an all-time high of 54%, though it is virtually unchanged from last year (52%). There is even more agreement that people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve time in jail.

About three-quarters of Americans (76%) say that if marijuana use is not legalized, those who are convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not serve jail time. Just 22% favor jail time for those convicted of minor marijuana possession. Democrats favor legalization by 63% and Independents by 58%.

It was in 2003 that John Ashcroft went after Tommy Chong in a sting set up by Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. attorney for the western district of PA, when she had a man go to California to buy bongs from Chong's son, Paris, then ask them to be shipped to Pennsylvania (where the shipping of such materials is prohibited). Btw, when Crisco™ John was being anointed for his job as AG, if he had wanted to be biblically literal, he probably should've used 6 lbs of marijuana in a quart of olive oil... Show trials, fake anointing. The Republican way. But Junior was putting more attention from his AG's office on other issues, for the most part. (That's another example of prosecutorial discretion, something Republicans want to impeach Obama for at this time.)

The Obama administration has made some missteps regarding marijuana law enforcement, according to activists in California, even after Holder stated medical marijuana raids would end, but the recent history of this issue should remind everyone of how far we've come.

We still have a long way to go, and we have a Republican-controlled House that is openly hostile to the will of the American people regarding this issue. The history of reactionary actions from the federal government remind us we cannot rely upon government officials to change policy unless we tell them we want change. Now.

Here's how to change the world

Education is important - but it's not necessary to change the world. Education performs an important function for those who want to explain something to her/his rational mind. But education is not enough to change the world.

Positive Messages are important - but they're not enough to change the world. They, however, are VASTLY important to create change - but the reason for this may not be what you think.

Negative messages do not promote change. The reason for this is because they invalidate the one actual way to create change.

People say different things motivate them to change, or to create change. However social science research has indicated one way that change actually occurs.

The one, demonstrated, way to create change is to let your peers, your politicians, your family members know that others support this change or behavior or action and are acting upon this support.

That's the truth. Herd behavior explains our positive and negative actions. Sadly. (Someone posted a thread here that mentioned this in relation to torture - i.e. "nice" people who "go along" with society's dictates are most likely to torture people to death. The reason for their willingness is that they are part of the herd and i.d. as such by their cooperativeness.)

This is why negative messages are harmful, because they promote the herd belief that most people are involved in those negative behaviors. People aren't necessarily influenced by disgust from negative messages. They receive the information that their peers are engaged in those behaviors, so they're not motivated to change, either.

Positive messages work when they utilize the concept that others are engaged in the positive behavior (i.e. modeling).

So, while the rich guy talks about people coming with pitchforks, etc... he's talking about behavior - but his purpose - to raise the minimum wage - will be effective when those who agree with him raise their wages as modeling behavior for the capitalist herd. This modeled behavior is then one of those "of course" moments - tho, in this case, the effect of raising wages for one company would mean they would attract people before companies that did not raise wages.

Congress must treat capitalists as a horde of insensible animals who must be taught how to function in a democracy, because the principles that structure corporations are not the principles that undergird democracies. Education really doesn't matter in this case, because the basic issue is that the horde will not seek to alter its own behavior when the model for its behavior - the ayn-ti christ rand - or corporate structure - leads the herd to engage in harmful behaviors.

So, if you want to change the world - seek out people who are engaged in actions that do so. Tell others about those people. Help others to see that this change is what people are doing who are worth lauding in our society. (That would mean turning off "reality tv" entirely, btw). The herd will come along - and they'll also be the ones "tut-tut-ing" those who come after them, as a way for the "cooperators" to force the laggers.

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